Jack Wighton has reportedly told the Canberra Raiders he will test the free agency market ahead of signing his next deal, and now it's believed the Dolphins have already been in discussions with the star.

News broke on Tuesday that Wighton, who has a player option at his disposal for 2024 so can freely sign with a rival club if he wishes for next season, has told the Raiders that he will explore his options ahead of next season.

Wighton is a one-club player to this stage of his career, having played 224 games for the Canberra Raiders since making his debut way back in 2012.

He has never once been on the open market during that timeframe, instead committing to the club where he made the grand final in 2019 at every opportunity.

But now, on the wrong side of 30 and approaching the signing of what could be the last contract of his career, Wighton will explore his options - something the Raiders CEO Don Furner admitted was totally understandable earlier today.

The Raiders have made it clear they will fight hard to retain Wighton, however, Fox Sports are reporting that the New South Wales State of Origin and Australian Kangaroos star has already been in discussions with the Dolphins.

Wayne Bennett had issues signing players ahead of his first season in charge at the NRL's newest club, but has already made moves for 2024, including landing the signatures of Herbie Farnworth and brute force prop Thomas Flegler.

Wighton's signature would be a major marquee move in the spine for the Redcliffe-based operation, who have started the season excellently, but could struggle for depth now following an injury to Sean O'Sullivan which could keep him out for anywhere between three and four months.

That will leave Isaiya Katoa and Anthony Milford as the club's halves pairing, with Milford to wear the number seven.

Where any potential signing of Wighton may not make sense for the Dolphins is in the case of Katoa, who has made his NRL debut this year and looks to be the best fit as the Dolphins' long-term number six.

The club fought hard to take him from the Penrith Panthers, and then handed out a debut in Round 1, suggesting just how well he has trained and his talent level.

Signing Wighton could see Katoa move to the seven, although it's unclear if he is ready for that role, or if Wayne Bennett would actively make any moves to displace O'Sullivan out of the side given how strongly he started the season, playing in three victories before missing out on the club's first loss - a narrow one to the Brisbane Broncos on Friday - with injury.