The Bulldogs will formally register their interest in Raiders gun John Bateman later this week after Canberra gave him permission to test the open market.
Bateman is contracted to the Raiders until the end of 2021, but his future is far from certain after he posted on social media on the weekend that he is able to re-negotiate his contract each year.
With CEO Don Furner confirming the Englishman has Canberra's permission to negotiate with rivals, NRL.com understands Canterbury officials will sound out Bateman's agent Isaac Moses in coming days.
Bulldogs coach Dean Pay is understood to have been aware of Bateman's potential availability for some time, with good mate Ricky Stuart advising him of Bateman's contract status well before it became part of the NRL news cycle in recent days.
Pay acted as Stuart's assistant at Parramatta and then Canberra before taking the head coaching role at Belmore.
Bateman has stressed repeatedly throughout the saga that his preference is to stay at Canberra.
Episode 4 - Adam Reynolds and Wayne Pearce
He is understood to be earning approximately $600,000 in 2020, and has indicated his willingness to remain at the Raiders on an upgraded and extended deal.
But Canberra's salary cap is stretched tight, with the likes of Jack Wighton and Nick Cotric also in line for upgrades after last year's run to the grand final.
Canberra are under no obligation to release Bateman next year, but have indicated they won't stand in his way if he were to field an offer to good to refuse.
The Bulldogs are one of few clubs with enough salary cap room to make such an offer after years of roster rebuilding, though talks with Moses, and Bateman's eventual asking price, will dictate whether any deal is tabled.
Bateman's English Test teammate Luke Thompson is already locked into the blue and white pack on a three-year deal from November.
Bateman has spent the past few months recovering from shoulder surgery late in the off-season, and is unlikely to be fit for Canberra's round 3 restart trip to Melbourne.