New Zealand's Jason Taumalolo is brought down by the Australian defence during the Four Nations rugby league match in November 2016
New Zealand's Jason Taumalolo is brought down by the Australian defence during the Four Nations rugby league match in November 2016 Simon Cooper / PA via AP

Jason Taumalolo's Cowboys deal the richest in NRL history

COWBOYS star Jason Taumalolo is set to sign a record-breaking NRL contract in a move that will effectively keep him in Townsville for the rest of his career.

The 23-year-old will reportedly sign a 10-year deal worth $10 million, according to the Courier Mail.

Taumalolo is the reigning Dally M medallist and one of the hottest properties in rugby league. Seen by many as the most destructive forward in the NRL, the back-rower has a unique blend of speed, strength and the ability to use footwork close to the line.

The whopping contract offer reflects the Cowboys' desire to keep the 119kg big man all for themselves by making him a one-club player. The deal also makes sure Taumalolo doesn't follow Jarryd Hayne down the path of flying off to America to try his hand at playing in the NFL.

 

Taumalolo went to the US in November last year with Cronulla flyer Valentine Holmes to workout in front of scouts from 14 NFL franchises. In January the pair's manager Chris Orr said he had received interest from four clubs.

The Cowboys can rest easy knowing they've got their man for the best years of his career. But there are some huge risks in signing someone on that money for that length of time.

"Someone's going to feel ripped off before the end of it or halfway through it," Matty Johns told the Triple M Grill Team. "I just don't think these big deals work.

"On one side of the coin you may have Jason Taumalolo - as unlikely as it is right now - losing form and they (the Cowboys) all of a sudden start to get twitchy and they start trying to ship him off.

"On the other side of the coin suddenly payments go through the roof with the next TV rights deal and poor old Jason's sitting there capable of earning $1.8 or $1.9 million a year and he's earning $1 million.

"My advice would be cool the heels a little bit, don't sign anything more than a three or four year deal.

"If I was his management there's no way I'd let him sign that. It's detrimental ... it puts you in a comfort zone no player who plays a sport as tough as rugby league should sit in.

"Someone's going to get dirty somewhere along the way halfway through this contract. When the bloke's getting $10 million a year they expect miracles."

Mark Geyer was also concerned Taumalolo's performances would start to drop off.

"You subconsciously drop the ball a little bit as far as your intensity goes towards the game or the job you're doing because you know you're safe," Geyer said. "That's a natural emotion to have when you go into a comfort zone."

The deal is similar to the one Manly halfback Daly Cherry-Evans signed in 2015 to keep him at the Sea Eagles, worth $10 million over eight years. However, many Manly fans would argue his performances since then haven't backed up his enormous price tag.

Cowboys supporters will be hoping Taumalolo doesn't follow that route.

Taumalolo has already played nine Tests for New Zealand and represented the NRL All Stars since making his debut for the Cowboys in 2010 as a 17-year-old.

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