SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES - MARCH 28: Junior Paulo of the Eels looks on during the round four NRL match between the Wests Tigers and the Parramatta Eels at ANZ Stadium on March 28, 2016 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Matt Blyth/Getty Images)

Parramatta star forward Junior Paulo is among the latest names to be linked to NRL newcomers the Dolphins, while a pair of Cowboys are also understood to be in the Queensland club's sights.

Paulo joins a plethora of Eels players that are off-contract for 2023, which falls as a timely expiry of his contract for the competition's 17th license.

The six-time New South Wales representative has gained strong interest in recent months, with Paulo now able to speak on his future with rival clubs.

TOWNSVILLE, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 09: Liam Martin, Junior Paulo and Jake Trbojevic sing the anthem before game one of the 2021 State of Origin series between the New South Wales Blues and the Queensland Maroons at Queensland Country Bank Stadium on June 09, 2021 in Townsville, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

A potential move back to Canberra has previously been flagged, while the Dolphins form as a keen suitor for the 27-year-old.

According to The Australian, the Redcliffe-based club have held "informal talks" with Paulo as the Dolphins eye their first big-name signing.

Wayne Bennett's side have also shown interest in Paulo's teammate and fellow free agent Reed Mahoney, with the Dolphins' interest aided by the Broncos rescinding their running for the Eels rake.

Wynnum-Manly Seagulls junior Harrison Graham is understood to have signed with the Dolphins on a development deal, while young Dragons half Junior Amone is also in the club's sights.

Newly-arrived recruitment manager Peter O'Sullivan is sure to eye a long list of  Queensland talent for 2023, with North Queensland duo Reuben Cotter and Tom Gilbert also linked to the Dolphins, per The Australian's report.

NEWCASTLE, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 17: Reuben Cotter of the North Queensland Cowboys passes the ball during the round 22 NRL match between the Newcastle Knights and the North Queensland Cowboys at McDonald Jones Stadium on August 17, 2019 in Newcastle, Australia. (Photo by Tony Feder/Getty Images)

The Cowboys pair are tipped to remain in Townsville however, but the Dolphins will be given an opportunity to impress the local names.

With the Eels mulling over a number of critical contract calls, Paulo could be one name to depart should options elsewhere be more desirable.

Parramatta forward Reagan Campbell-Gillard recently inked a new deal until 2025 in what is a major coup for the Eels, with the gun prop having also previously been linked to the Dolphins.