Cowboys ready to force Holmes’ hand
North Queensland will hold urgent talks with Valentine Holmes' management to determine whether to pursue the NFL aspirant or divert salary-cap funds to sign Roosters ace Latrell Mitchell.
Cowboys football operations chief Peter Parr will contact Holmes' agent Chris Orr in the coming days to seek more clarity on the prospect of the former Queensland Origin winger returning to the NRL in 2020.
Although it has been widely reported that Holmes' move to Townsville next year is a done deal, the Cowboys claim no official contract is in place with the 24-year-old tryscoring machine.
As revealed by The Courier-Mail in April, Holmes shook hands on a secret five-year deal with the Cowboys from 2020, only for the arrangement to collapse when he was picked up by the NFL's Jets under the International Pathway program.
Now, with Holmes entering the final months of his development stint in the NFL, the Cowboys want definitive answers.
With the New York Jets floundering with a 1-7 win-loss record and almost certain to miss the playoffs, Holmes' NFL campaign could end as early as December 29.
That would give Holmes time to formally advise the Jets he is returning home in a scenario that could see him joining the Cowboys for pre-season training in January.
Should Holmes indicate to the Cowboys that he plans to remain in America to chase an NFL contract in 2020, North Queensland chiefs will move forward immediately armed with around $1 million to target Mitchell.
The premiership-winning centre is almost certainly on the lookout for a new club in 2021 after the Roosters withdrew a two-year contract extension on Tuesday.
Holmes' manager Chris Orr, of Pacific Sports Management, says the former Cronulla Sharks flyer will not rush any decision on his NRL future.
"My client has made no decision to return to the NRL and is focusing on his current job with the New York Jets," Orr said.
"All the talk around him agreeing to return and join the Cowboys is premature."