The Tigers have $1.5 million to play with in 2020 after clearing Ryan Matterson and Ben Matulino from their books, but that increases to more than $5 million in 2021.
That will allow them to pay Mitchell close to his asking price of $1 million in 2021 and 2022 should he sign on the dotted line.
The Tigers are proceeding with caution, however, as some within the club are yet to be convinced Mitchell’s obvious talent is worth the circus which has followed him for the past 12 months.
Equally, there are those at the Tigers who believe Mitchell is just the X-factor type player the club needs. To that end, the Tigers have also targeted Titans talent AJ Brimson as a player of interest.
The latest twist in the Mitchell saga comes after the Bulldogs – who had been linked to Mitchell for months – removed themselves from the race for the Kangaroos star on Friday.
The club’s recruitment and retention committee came to the decision that Mitchell was not the right fit for coach Dean Pay and the young list which has been rebuilt from the ground up.
“After meeting as a recruitment and retention committee this afternoon we have made the decision that we won’t be making an offer to Latrell,” Bulldogs CEO Andrew Hill said on Friday.
“We normally wouldn’t comment on situations like this but given the amount of attention this has received over the past few days we just wanted to make that clear. We won’t be adding any more to it than that.”
The Roosters are desperate to keep Mitchell away from Souths as they fear that is where he could land if he hands his business over to agent Matt Rose, who looks after fellow Indigenous stars Cody Walker and Jack Wighton.
Souths have publicly denied an interest in the player but the Herald has been told they are monitoring the situation with interest.
Elsewhere, the Knights have all but removed themselves from the race for Mitchell. The Cowboys are the other club linked to the star centre, though a move to Townsville would surprise given the distance from Mitchell’s home town of Taree.
Rugby league legend Mark Geyer urged North Queensland to drop their pursuit of Valentine Holmes so they can cough up the required cash to lure Mitchell north.
“I know that Val Holmes is going to be a hot commodity if he decides to come back to rugby league, but it’s an unknown,” Geyer said on Triple M.
“It might take 12 months to get his body shape back to being a rugby league player after being an NFL player and doing extensive weights and being a lot thicker and being a tad slower for rugby league.
“I’d still gamble on Val, I’d love him back in the game, but at the moment if you made me choose between Val Holmes and Latrell, I’m taking Latrell.”
Sam is a sports reporter for The Sydney Morning Herald.