North Queensland Cowboys star half Thomas Dearden has re-signed with the club on a mega long-term deal.

The club confirmed on Tuesday morning that Dearden had signed a mammoth five-year contract extension that will run through to the end of the 2029 season, with his current deal having originally been due to expire at the end of 2024. It means Dearden has been able to negotiate with rival clubs since November 1.

Despite recent comments suggesting the half, who could move into the number seven jersey at the club once Chad Townsend hangs up the boots, was in no rush to make a call on his future, he has locked himself away at the Cowboys.

Dearden was believed to have had interest over his next contract from as many as six rival clubs, with the St George Illawarra Dragons understood to have been the most likely to poach him away from Townsville.

That hasn't happened though, with Dearden now set to spend at least nine seasons as a Cowboys, something that director of football Michael Luck is thrilled about.

“This is a great day for our club, locking in one of the most talented young playmakers in rugby league to remain in a Cowboys jersey until the end of the decade,” Luck said in a club statement confirming the news.

“Today's announcement finalises what we believe is a solid foundation for our club to build around with Tom, Scott Drinkwater and Reece Robson all locked into long-term deals.

“We were always confident Tom wanted to remain part of our club because he has thrived in our environment. His improvement as a player has been considerable since he first arrived in 2021 and we believe he's only scratched the surface.

“We are thrilled to extend Tom's contract to the end of 2029 and look forward to the success we believe is in front of us with Tom playing an integral role.”

Dearden's deal leaves the halves market for off-contract players skinny, with Ezra Mam set to re-sign with the Brisbane Broncos, and Jarome Luai reportedly switching to the Wests Tigers.