McLean is off-contract at the end of 2022, and while nothing is likely to be announced before the end of the Cowboys' finals campaign - the club play a preliminary final on Friday evening against the Parramatta Eels - it's understood discussions have been ongoing in the background.
McLean was a high-profile recruit when he joined the Cowboys in 2018.
A former Australian representative, McLean had turned himself into one of the best props in the game during 2016 and 2017 at the Melbourne Storm before making the shift to Townsville.
But that form fell apart over the following years, and his first four seasons at the Cowboys brought with it average returns.
2022 has seen a complete shift for McLean though, with the 31-year-old displaying his best form since he left Melbourne by a considerable distance.
The prop is off-contract at the end of the year and while there is little doubt he will take a mega pay cut from the $750,000 he was on, The Daily Telegraph are reporting that coach Todd Payten is very keen to keep him around as a leader of the team.
While details are yet to be confirmed, it's understood the deal will be for either one or two years, with the Cowboys managing to free up enough salary cap space for the prop in recent times.
No other clubs are believed to be interested, and McLean is likely to want to finish his career in the NRL, so will likely take the new deal in Townsville where he has played in the last five years.
His excellent form in 2022 was rewarded with a New South Wales Origin call up, although he failed to make his debut after suffering a leg injury in camp which also cost him a number of games at the Cowboys immediately after the Origin series.