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Dragons backrower Tyson Frizell.

Around a third of all NRL players will have to wait until July before they can negotiate deals beyond 2020.

There are more than 180 players off contract in the game out of the 500 or so on NRL or development deals, from marquee money men like David Fifita, Latrell Mitchell and Anthony Milford to development players and minimum wage earners.

Whereas players would normally be able to negotiate from November 1 in the final year of their deals, all contract registrations have been put on hold by the NRL with the competition suspended by the coronavirus pandemic, with a variety of scenarios being explored around when and if games can be played again in 2020.

Next year's salary cap, which was originally projected to be $9.9 million, could be reduced given the financial blows being worn right across rugby league.

After finalising the RLPA's new $24.9 million "worst case scenario" agreement with the NRL on Thursday, RLPA chief Clint Newton said no contracts can be realistically negotiated while there is such uncertainty around club's finances.

A September 1 date has been previously declared as the cut-off date for a reduced NRL competition to be salvaged.

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And until a definitive answer on a return date or cancelling the season can be made, players' futures for 2021 and years to follow will remain up in the air.

"We've put some things in place to stop a lot of deals being done because we're unsure of what the financial circumstances are or what the overall consequences are of the pandemic we're working through," Newton said.

"From about mid-July we're going to have a definitive date on whether or not we're going to be able to play by September.

"That's the deadline for us to say [whether or not] we're playing.

"So then it's about working through the different things we will need to discuss and negotiate with the NRL about any material change for 2021.

"Then it will be a reactivation of away you go clubs because we're not playing this year, this what you're going to have to deal with or work with for next year.

"And then put some things in place, particularly around if there are any possibilities of a salary cap reduction.

"It may happen before that, it may happen in the next few weeks if we get back to playing, [or it could be] the moment we get back.

"If you go back to playing, it's let's go, you're right to start renegotiating."

Newton said the RLPA would continue working with the NRL salary cap department "about putting some definitive dates in".

The RLPA will be involved in any discussions around next year's salary cap, with players to receive a minimum of 29.5% share of any net revenue the game raises via a condensed competition.

Newton said the RLPA was also exploring " a whole range of support options for players and that includes how they may qualify for government support," with an eye to the $130 billion Jobkeeper package announced earlier this week by Scott Morrison

NRL CEO Todd Greenberg has also confirmed the option of extending contracts beyond the regular November 1 rollover date until the end of December would be put to stakeholders should games be able to be played over summer.

Under such a scenario already-confirmed player moves such as Jai Arrow (Titans to Rabbitohs) and Tyson Frizell (Dragons to Knights, though his 2021 Newcastle contract is yet to be officially registered) would take place in January, just two months before the start of next year's season.

A condensed pre-season is also expected to do the same to the player market as clubs work in a limited time frame to finalise their rosters.

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"That will be the next round of discussions that we have to have," Greenberg said on 2GB on Thursday night.

"If we can get the season underway through our project team and it does extend into potentially October, November or December, then there is a mechanism that we'll work with players to extend those contracts through to the end of the calendar year.

"And again that's open to us, we need to be as flexible as we can if we're going to get footy back on."

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National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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