Exeter boss Rob Baxter claims the club couldn’t maintain Tom Lawday and abide by the salary cap, after Harlequins announced they had signed the forwards.
He is the second player Exeter have reluctantly let go to maintain under the £7m cap following Santiago Cordero.
“You just can’t keep everyone, but it’s just difficult,” Baxter said.
“The days of every player who wanted to stay stays at Exeter – they have been gone whenever you talk about salary caps and teams that were successful,” the Exeter boss added to BBC Sport.
Exeter will bring British and Irish Lions Fullback Stuart Hogg after the World Cup and already have experienced internationals such as Alex Cuthbert, Dave Dennis and Several players in the England squad.
“it is a tough scenario but one you have got to find the balance of,” Baxter added.
“Can I have enjoyed Tom to live? Ofcourse I’d, he’s come through and played with some important games for all of people.
“Is it possible for him to stay and Dave Dennis to stay and Stuart Hogg Ahead in and to have Henry Slade, Jack Nowell, Luke Cowan-Dickie, Sam Skinner, Jonny Hill, Matt Kvesic, Nic White, along with Ollie Devoto to be here? At some point you have got to get conclusions and that’s where we have been.”