Cameron Munster may not be off-contract until the end of 2023, but it hasn't stopped multiple clubs from inquiring about signing him before then.
The Melbourne Storm have made it publically very clear they won't be releasing Munster before the end of his contract, viewing him as irreplaceable.
Not only that, but the club are still confident they can convince Munster to re-sign beyond the end of 2023 despite a pay cut, warding off the advances of other clubs including the Dolphins, Brisbane Broncos and Canterbury Bulldogs among others.
The report suggests Jakob Arthur, Kieran Foran and Scott Drinkwater have all been offered to the Storm in return, who aren't interested in listening to any offers for their star Queensland and Australian representative half.
It's understood clubs offering player swaps believe the Storm may want to free up salary cap space. Munster is due to be paid over $1 million next season, and the club need to put resources into their forward pack, where they are set to lose Brandon Smith, Kenneath Bromwich, Felise Kaufusi and Jesse Bromwich.
At this stage, Melbourne have made no new signings for 2023 in what could be a worry for fans of the club.
The player swap options throw another spanner in the works for the Dolphins, who have missed out on every marquee player they have chased so far, but are reportedly still confident of landing Munster.
While it's unclear why the Eels would be chasing Munster - they have already shelled out big money on both Dylan Brown and Mitchell Moses, with both players in excellent form to start 2022 - the Cowboys and Sea Eagles situations make a lot more sense.
Drinkwater was once in Melbourne before making the switch to Townsville, but has been shunted down the order this year following the arrival of Tom Dearden and Chad Townsend, who have started the year in the halves.
The half and fullback has been playing at fullback in recent weeks to cover for an injury to Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow, however, will be shunted back out of the side upon the Queensland Origin representative's return.
That leaves Drinkwater - who many believe should be starting regardless for the Cowboys - back on the outer. He was linked with a move to the Newcastle Knights over the off-season to link up with former teammate Jake Clifford, however, it never materialized.
Kieran Foran has displayed good form and spoken openly about his desire to re-sign with Manly previously, however, he could be left on the outer if the moves for Tuilagi becomes official.
"If you'd said to me 12 months ago if I got through this two years with Manly, 'would I be content?', I would have said 'bloody oath'," Foran said in February.
"But now I want more.
"It's just where I am feeling physically and mentally. I feel like I have learned how to look after myself
"I don't have an endpoint at this stage. I don't want to put a time period on it.
"It comes down to what I can do on the footy field ... Hopefully, there are a few more years to come.
"I am 31, I will be 32 midway through this year. But I'm not ready to roll over yet."
While Melbourne chairman Justin Rodski has remained solid on the idea of not letting Munster go, the Storm's forward pack for 2023 is currently looking incredibly thin.
The club have Nelson Asofa-Solomona, Harry Grant Jordan Grant, Jack Howarth, Josh King, Trent Loiero, Tepai Moeroa, Christian Welch and Tyran Wishart as confirmed options, while Tui Kamikamica has a club option, but is currently unable to play under the NRL's no fault stand down rule.
More worryingly, the list of off-contract forwards for 2023 is beginning to look smaller, and while the club have reportedly landed the signature of Tariq Sims, they will need numerous more resources under a stretched salary cap following the recent re-signings of Harry Grant, Jahrome Hughes and Ryan Papenhuyzen.