Val’s delayed homecoming to save Cowboys cash
Val Holmes could return to rugby league after the New York Jets' season finishes in late December - and save North Queensland a cool $170,000 in the process.
News Corp has been told Holmes is considering quitting his NFL dream to start a three-year, $3 million contract with North Queensland from the start of next season.
Holmes would remain in New York until the Jets' season ends against the Buffalo Bills on December 29.
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A formal NRL contract starts from November 1. Should he return to training in January, North Queensland wouldn't be required to pay Holmes for November or December - one-sixth of his contract, or around $166,000.
The development follows The Daily Telegraph revelation that Cowboys coach Paul Green planned to have a private dinner with Holmes in New York on Tuesday.
Holmes wants to at least remain with the Jets until the end of their NFL season.
Given their poor season so far - they are 1-5 after a 33-0 thrashing at the hands of the New England Patriots on Tuesday - it would appear highly unlikely the franchise would progress into the NFL's January play-offs.
There is increasing speculation Holmes has agreed to a three-season contract in Townsville.
Green had been in Boston before making the journey to New York for dinner with Holmes on Tuesday. Cowboys football manager Peter Parr was also in the US but not accompanying Green.
Holmes continues to work away on the Jets practice squad after missing a place in the top-tier 53-man NFL squad.
He is earning around $181,000 a season - a pittance compared to the cash he could be pocketing in rugby league. Holmes is ineligible to be called up into the Jets NFL squad this season.
North Queensland has kept room open in their salary cap for the possible arrival of Holmes.
Former NSW captain and coach Laurie Daley feared Holmes may not return as the dominant rugby league player he once before leaving.
"If players have got their hearts set on going over there and playing NFL then I don't think you can stop them. You allow them to go," Daley told The Big Sports Breakfast on Sky Sports Radio.
"But one thing they have to realise: If it doesn't work out they may not be the same player when they come back.
"If Val comes back and struggles, that would be two players that have gone over (Holmes and Jarryd Hayne) in the peak of their careers and come back not playing their best as a footy player.
"It would be hard for anyone who has never played the game to go straight to the US and become an NFL player. They might get on the squad but I can't see them having a lot of game time.
"Out here in Australia, you want to play, you want to compete and test yourself against the best. Val has a drive and competitive nature in him.
"I worry about them when they have a lot of time away (from rugby league) and they come back because their body shape has changed. You have to get your body right to play NFL rather than NRL."