SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 06: Dylan Brown of the Eels runs with the ball during the round 25 NRL match between the Parramatta Eels and the Manly Sea Eagles at Bankwest Stadium on September 06, 2019 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

The Parramatta Eels had 17 players either off-contract or with player options up their sleeve when the calendar rolled over to November 1.

The unprecedented number of players coming off-contract at the same time and without deals sorted has Eels fans nervous as a salary cap crunch threatened to squeeze the club.

Reagan Campbell-Gillard - with a player option at his disposal - was one of the first to re-sign with the Eels, but then came the losses. Isaiah Papali'i to the Wests Tigers, Reed Mahoney to the Canterbury Bulldogs, Ray Stone to the Dolphins and Marata Niukore to the New Zealand Warriors on a mega-deal, the likes of which the Eels were never going to be able to match.

The Eels have managed to hit back with the re-signings of Clint Gutherson and Junior Paulo, while they also added Mitch Rein and Bailey Simonsson to their squad for 2022 and Josh Hodgson for 2023.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MAY 01: Clint Gutherson of the Eels on his way to a try during the round eight NRL match between the Canterbury Bulldogs and the Parramatta Eels at Stadium Australia, on May 01, 2021, in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Evans/Getty Images)

The current situation sees the Eels having most of their main stars sorted either at the club or elsewhere for 2023, with only Ryan Matterson and Tom Opacic still off-contract at the end of the season alongside a number of fringe first graders and development players.

But the ace is still Dylan Brown.

He is yet to commit either way, with the in and out of form Eel on a reported figure of around $700,000 per year.

It's unlikely he would command that much money switching away from the blue and gold, however, he hasn't ruled out the prospect of playing for a different club.

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Talking to The Sydney Morning Herald, Brown said the decision will be personal and that he will sit down with his management "when it gets to the time" suggesting Eels fans will be left in the dark over their plans in the halves for 2023 a little while longer yet.

“It’s personal, like everything,” Brown said.

“You can’t rely on the team to make you feel whether you want to stay or not. If I’m contributing, they’re going to want me to stay.

“When it gets to the time, I’ll sit down with my family and my manager and make the right decision. I’m a very independent person, I like to do things on my own accord. But, at the same time, I do like to look at other people’s opinions.

“Whether we like it or not, we all like other people’s opinions, especially my manager. He’s done a lot for me, and same with my family. My family is from New Zealand, and they moved for me. But, for example, if I said let’s go to Japan, they’ll come to Japan.”

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 29: Dylan Brown of the Eels Is tackled by Luke Keary of the Roosters during the round three NRL match between the Parramatta Eels and the Sydney Roosters at ANZ Stadium on March 29, 2019 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

It's unclear if Brown has had contract or negotiations with any other club outside of Parramatta at this stage. It has previously been reported that the Canberra Raiders were interested, as were the New Zealand Warriors, however, their recent addition of Luke Metcalf for 2023 is likely to pour cold water on that story.

There is no reported deadline on when Brown will need to make a decision by, adding further pressure on the Eels. Should he leave the club however, the Eels may look internally for a replacement, with Jakob Arthur at the club and impressing during limited first-grade opportunities last year.