The Manly Sea Eagles avoided a six or seven team tug-of-war by signing one of their prized assets Haumole Olakau'atu to a monster six-year contract extension.

Olakau'atu would have been the hottest player on the open market if he had remained unsigned by this time next year, but Manly took absolutely no chances.

Not only was his deal extended by six seasons but his existing 2024 and 2025 deal was upgraded.

He is reportedly going to earn around one million dollars a season.

First and foremost this deal should be celebrated. Manly did what they needed to do to ensure their prized wide running asset wasn't allowed to talk to other clubs.

Right now he looks worth every single cent, and if he continues his incredible trajectory, could actually provide greta value. That's how good he is.

By now you've all seen the headline and are waiting for the "but ..." and here it comes.

Manly are now the most top heavy side in the competition.

They have four players on huge contracts and a fifth on a reported big money deal.

Tom Trbojevic is reportedly on over a million dollars a season. Absolutely worth it, when he's on the field. Unfortunately that hasn't meant much in the past two seasons.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 04: Tom Trbojevic of the Sea Eagles makes a break during the round one NRL match between the Manly Sea Eagles and the Canterbury Bulldogs at 4 Pines Park on March 04, 2023 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Brother Jake is also on just under a million himself.

I'm confident in saying that the club has $2,000,000 tied up in the rep regulars.

Daly Cherry Evans is signed to the club for the 2024 and 2025 seasons at a reported $1.2 million.

We all heard the ridiculous numbers being thrown around to keep Josh Schuster at the club while I can't imagine Luke Brooks came cheap despite his pay cut from a bloated deal at the Wests Tigers.

It is not beyond comprehension that in the Trbojevic brothers, their star half and Queensland State of Origin captain Cherry-Evans, Schuster and now Olakau'atu are eating up approximately five million of the roughly $12 million dollar cap moving forward.

Albeit four stars and a player of much promise, but still five players all the same.

That leaves seven million (roughly) to fill out the remaining 25 spots.

It is worth mentioning that the salary cap is set to rise sharply in the coming seasons, but most player managers would have ensured that their clients salary rises with the cap under ratchet clauses, which were all the rage in rugby league circles in recent times as the NRL and Rugby League Players Association tried, and failed for a long time, to agree on a new collective bargaining agreement.

Of course these aren't absolute numbers and don't take into account third party deals, other allowances and rep payments among other factors. We don't have their contracts and can only go off reports.

Unfortunately we've seen the inability for Tom Trbojevic to stay fit.

Despite travelling overseas and making numerous adjustments, his body continues to let him down. His injury in Origin was more bad luck than anything on his behalf, but it still seems to happen with regularity.

Daly Cherry-Evans is still at the peak of his powers but is 34 years of age.

Jake Trbojevic plays in one of the game's most damaging positions on the body. He now has 200 games of NRL wear and tear on his body, as well as almost 30 games combined for NSW and the Kangaroos.

Now I am more than sure that other clubs are in similar situations cap wise in that they've invested heavily at the top.

The Eels and Storm come to mind but they didn't finish 11th and 12th in the past two seasons with an almost identical roster, Brooks arrival and Schuster's increased involvement aside.

With the greatest of respects to Anthony Siebold, he doesn't have the consistent runs on the board of a Craig Bellamy when it comes to producing cut-price talent to supplement his stars.

I completely understand why Manly made the move they did, but if Trbojevic goes down, Cherry-Evans has a dip or Josh Shuster doesn't find the form he is being paid to produce, there isn't much room to move.

Props to Manly for going all in on a side they believe can achievepremiership success but they better hope Luke Brooks comes good in a big way.

RELATED: A position swap and second chances: Why Josh Schuster and Luke Brooks will work for Manly

There simply is no room for error. There is no plan B.

Manly are now very much at the risk of having their next emerging star poached.

They flat out don't have the salary cap space to sign yet another star. We have already seen the club lose the Fainu brothers to the Wests Tigers in 2023.

Of course this is playing hypotheticals, whereas Olakau'atu is in the peak of his powers right now, but it remains a very real prospect all the same.

No recruitment decision is made without a degree of risk. I want to make it clear I'm not rubbishing the decision. In fact I would have supported moving heaven and earth if I'm a Manly fan.

That said, this is a decision that has locked them in.

If they don't win with this core of players, they'll have to wait until Cherry-Evans retires, Shuster forces a move away from the club or one of the Trbojevic brothers pull up stumps.

Manly are 100 per cent all in. It's risky but they're ensured an all star nucleus of top tier talent.

If everything goes right!