Blockbusting Kiwi forward Jason Taumalolo has signed one of the longest contract deals in NRL history, keeping him at North Queensland until the end of the 2027 season.
The reigning Dally M medallist's 10-year contract is believed to be worth $A10 million, putting the 23-year-old lock forward among the game's highest-paid players.
Taumalolo, who has won a premiership and represented New Zealand in his time at the club, has played 115 games with the Cowboys, since his debut in 2010.
He has turned his back on pursuing a career in the NFL, after trialling in front of scouts in the United States in the off-season.
"The NFL opportunity was pretty big for me," Taumalolo told reporters today. "Obviously, to throw myself into another game, the negatives outweighed the positives.
"It was all about securing my future and obviously the opportunities that I have playing for this club. To be playing for this club for the rest of my career, is a big one for me."
Cowboys coach Paul Green said locking down the star back-rower would give the club long-term security.
He said the length of the deal was justified.
"It definitely gives us stability. He's a key player in the game and a key player at our club.
"Jason's proved his consistency in recent seasons. He's certainly committed to the club.
"Whether or not the value of it is warranted, I think it is. I think it's a fair deal for both.
"Securing it for that far means all parties get a win. I think what it does do is send a statement that such good players, like Jase is as the current Dally M medallist, for him to commit his rest of career to this club is a huge statement."
Taumalolo led the competition for metres gained in 2016, when he was crowned the league's best player, alongside Melbourne's Cooper Cronk.
Displaying slick footwork and clean ball skills, he was the first forward to win the Dally M in 10 years.
Cowboys football boss Peter Parr said the club expected Taumalolo to maintain his status among the game's elite for a "considerable period of time".
"Given his age, we felt the longer that we could secure him for the better for everybody," Parr said.