Haumole Olakau'atu has signed a mega contract extension that will make him one of the highest-paid forwards in the NRL.

The star second-rower, who isn't off-contract until the end of 2025, has taken himself off the open market almost a year before he could have negotiated with rival clubs on November 1, 2024.

The Sea Eagles confirmed the deal on Thursday that will run until the end of 2031, reprsenting a six-year extension.

It's understood the deal will include an upgrade for 2024 and 2025, followed by six extra seasons, which means it would expire at the end of 2031. The deal is believed to be worth around $1 million per year.

“We have seen the growth in Haumole over the last couple of years but, in particular, the last 12 months," Coach Anthony Seibold said.

“From a physical point of view, Haumole is an 80 minutes back-rower now.

“The biggest thing that has impressed me over the past year is that Haumole has given himself to the team in a way that a lot of people are now following him.

"We have seen those leadership qualities in him.

"Haumole has graduated into a leadership position at Manly and that's been the most exciting part of him as a person. He has also grown into a devoted family man.

“We feel that Haumole's best years are ahead of him and that he can develop into an elite player who can play at State of Origin level for the NSW Blues.

“He has already played at Test level for Tonga but he is at that part of his career now where he can play State of Origin.

“If he plays State of Origin, it means he is playing consistent. That's his narrow focus, being consistent at Manly.

“Haumole is a high-quality player and we love having him. The Club has invested in his long-term career. We want Haumole to be a one Club player.

“We feel Manly is the best Club for Haumole and that he is the right person to invest in.”

It was first reported that the contract negotiations for Olakau'atu were underway in September, with a deal of this size floated, but it was unclear exactly how likely it was to be signed off by the powers that be on the Northern Beaches.

The size of the deal will put Olakau'atu in the same conversation as Gold Coast Titans duo David Fifita and Tino Fa'asuamaleaui, as well as North Queensland Cowboys lock Jason Taumalolo as the highest-paid forward in the game.

Locking down the 25-year-old on a deal for that length of time will likely turn him into a one-club player, and, fitness pending, could see him go past 250 games for the club by the time it expires.

Already a two-time Tongan representative, the Guildford-born forward has quickly worked up a reputation as one of the best second-rowers in the competition, and despite some struggles on the Northern Beaches during 2023 for the club as a whole, Olakau'atu was a bright spot.

In 24 games, he crossed for ten tries, added 11 line breaks, 13 offloads and averaged 127 metres per game while also holding up his end of the deal in defence.

The contract will continue to bloat the top end of the Sea Eagles' roster which is already heavy from big-money deals for the likes of Tom Trbojevic, Jake Trbojevic, Daly Cherry-Evans and Josh Schuster among others, but also all but confirms the internal noise out of the club during 2023 - that they have no salary cap issues despite reports to the contrary.

CEO Tony Mestrov at one point came out on the public record to silence the claims the club would have to let players go over salary cap concerns.