This week, Payne Haas‘ agents will hold discussions with the Brisbane Broncos management team, expressing that with “the right deal,” the top prop could be kept on their roster, avoiding his availability on the open market come November 1.
Haas’ representation, led by Ahmad Merhi, responded on Monday evening to comments from coach Kevin Walters. Walters had suggested that the successful 23-year-old player would renew his contract before the team’s finals season commenced.
The Broncos have a standing strategy to endow Haas with the highest earnings ever seen by a forward in the franchise. Plans include boosting his salary above the $1 million threshold. An updated, improved deal valued at nearly $3.5 million has reportedly been under consideration, following Walters’ comments earlier in the week.
Merhi, however, refuted that an updated offer had been presented to him or his client, declining to elaborate on the specifics of any negotiation proceedings at this stage.
In light of his forthcoming 100th game in the National Rugby League (NRL), against the Parramatta Eels, Haas appeared in the media spotlight. However, he revealed little about his career plans moving forward. Instead, he offered insights into the advice given by Sonny Bill Williams, retiring multi-sport star, and his priority of family in his future contracts.
Merhi advised that discussions with the Broncos decision-makers will proceed as Haas approaches his significant upcoming game. He pointed out that Brisbane is well positioned to retain the high-demand NRL player.
“I don’t want to trigger any controversy during this time of year,” Merhi articulated on Tuesday. He emphasised that they were still open to further negotiations with Brisbane. He also suggested that if Brisbane failed to meet their expectations, they would explore other options on November 1. Merhi underscored, “Right now, the only team we can negotiate with is Brisbane, making them the frontrunners.”
If Brisbane offers the correct deal for Haas, an agreement could be concluded prior to November 1, Merhi stated. He affirmed that no new contracts have been presented yet and they are still in ongoing negotiation talks.
Currently, Haas’ existing contract sets his earnings at $848,000 for the year 2024. Nonetheless, projections of a market value beyond a million dollars will play a role in any discussions concerning an upgrade.
The young player’s skills have caught the eye of numerous parties throughout the league. The most recent prospective contender is Melbourne, joining the line-up of teams including the Canterbury Bulldogs, Wests Tigers, and the St. George Illawarra Dragons.
Brisbane’s ascension into the championship contention realm, powered by talents such as Haas, Reece Walsh, and Ezra Mam, among others, has other teams on high alert. Particularly given the outstanding performance of Walsh ($500,000 estimated earnings) and Mam ($250,000), who have been playing well above their current salaries.
Above all, Haas’ main motivation in any decision-making will be his desire to play for a winning team. He has previously sought performance clauses that would enable him to leave Brisbane if the team didn’t achieve certain targets – a proposal rejected by the team.
“Sonny is real good. He always reaches out to me. Obviously, I’m going through some stuff and he has always made sure I am all good and give me some advice,” Haas shared. “He is pretty special to me, Sonny. We are pretty close. He is good to have around me.”
On the topic of Brisbane’s rise to championship contention, Haas expressed his gratitude to the club for their unwavering support amid his off-field dramas.
Haas acknowledges his contractual dialogue with Brisbane and optimistically affirms, “We’ll sort it out.” He acknowledges his strong bond with coach Walters, stating, “We both know we’re at. We understand each other [and] what we want. I’m really appreciative of what they’ve done for me.”