The future of Knights veteran Mitchell Pearce is at a crossroads, with the playmaker facing a pay cut of he plans to remain in Newcastle, per Fox Sports.
Pearce has been linked to a return to the Roosters, with the 31-year-old’s current $1 million-per-season contract believed to be a large concern for the Knights’ salary cap.
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James Hooper revealed there were some concerns between both parties surrounding a contract extension for Pearce.
“I think there is some tough conversations going on among the Knights football department as to whether Mitchell Pearce is the right playmaker to take them forward or not,” Hooper said.
“He is signed for next season and he is on a million dollars a season, so I find it hard to believe that Mitchell would want to move anywhere.
“But the people who design the roster are having a look at how they might be able to shake things up and shuffle things around.”
Lara Pitt added that Pearce and his management could be the ones tossing up the veteran’s future with the Knights.
“My impression is that maybe it is coming from Pearce’s camp,” Pitt said.
“There was discussion that there was a two-year offer on the table from Newcastle and now that has been changed to a one-year contract extension, and perhaps Mitchell is disappointed with that.
“I spoke to the Knights and I get the impression they are going to have a delicate conversation over his future.
“He is on a million dollars and they are going to ask him to take a pay cut to $700,000 and then for 2023 – which they are interested in – and he would take a further pay cut to $600,000.
“For your captain and halfback looking at that sort of money at the tail-end of his career they want to sit face-to-face with him and have that discussion.
“I feel that he is maybe reassessing where he wants to be if Newcastle are not returning the love.”
Pitt pushed that Pearce could make a point of the Knights’ lack of depth in their halves stocks.
“I think he will be sitting down with them and looking at what they are doing with the No.6 jersey going forward,” Pitt said.
“He passionately mounted a case to the Knights to sign Kieran Foran. I think he wants a No.6 next to him that he feels he can work with.”
Ben Ikin agreed, stating Pearce relishes when paired up with another strong playmaker.
“Mitch doesn’t like to do the heavy lifting in terms of the thinking for the side,” Ikin said.
“He struggles with it because he likes to play in the moment.
“When Blake Green did his knee all that responsibility that Blake Green had only taken (on) for two games was forced back on Mitchell Pearce until the end of the season and he just looked worn down.”