If a team agreed such a fee with the Storm, and Cronk was to move – Cronk would be earning more money than Jonathon Thurston, Cameron Smith and Jarryd Hayne.
With rumours flying left, right and centre about Cronk’s location after this season, the South Sydney Rabbitohs appear to be the front-runners, with Cronk keen to test his worth and value on the open market.
Despite the high asking price, what does work in Cronk’s favour, is that the substantial increase in the salary cap come 2013, may allow him to seek a bigger offer at another NRL club.
During the Four Nations tour in the UK last year, Cronk said that he was not going to rush into making a decision about his future.
“Obviously you want to play for as long as you can, (but) I’m not one that’s going to try and start hanging on for every last breath once I start losing the passion,” Cronk said.
“Everyone knows their time. I’m still 28, so I’ve got at least five years left.
“I’ll play footy, I’ll enjoy a holiday and then I’ll sort out what I have to do.”
Chris Orr, Cooper Cronk’s manager, confirmed to Melbourne Chief Executive Ron Gauci, that Cronk was keen to test his value on the open market.
“It’s always hard to tell when everyone is negotiating, but from our point of view he’s an integral part of our team and we’re going to do whatever we can within the rules of the game to keep him,” Gauci said.
“From our point of view, all we ask is that the salary cap auditor monitors the third-party payments that will be used to entice him. And there’s no doubt they will be used to entice him.
“We’re hoping that Cooper’s experience with the club and history with the players around him will come into play when he considers his future. We very much see his future at Storm, hopefully he sees it the same way.
“The impression I get from the conversations we’ve had before Christmas is that he would rather take the field and know what he’s doing rather than have this drag out.”