North Queensland football boss Peter Parr admits it will be difficult for the NRL club to table a tempting offer to Latrell Mitchell.
There was speculation Cowboys hooker Jake Granville may leave Townsville, freeing up money for North Queensland to make a serious play for Sydney Roosters star Mitchell.
While Parr couldn't guarantee that Granville would be at the club in 2020, he said even if the livewire rake departed North Queensland still wouldn't have enough cash to lure Mitchell.
Parr said it would take a number of players to leave for the Cowboys to field a competitive offer for the Roosters X-factor.
"And that is where it all gets complex," Parr told Sky Sports Radio.
"When you are talking about someone like Latrell you are talking about multiple years in the deal and whether you need to shift players.
"Then you have to work out how that affects you culturally and if you have still have enough money.
"So there are a lot of conversations to be had.
"Whether we end up coming up with something for Latrell, I think that is debatable and it wouldn't be a decision we could reach in the short term.
"It will be difficult but you never say never."
North Queensland met with Mitchell in Townsville last week but looked set to pull out of the race after signing Valentine Holmes on a lucrative six year deal this week.
However, Cowboys coach Paul Green surprisingly claimed North Queensland had not given up on inking a deal for Mitchell when he officially unveiled Holmes at a Monday press conference, saying talks were ongoing.
It sparked rumours Granville had been offered to UK Super League clubs or may be bound for Manly, to add hooker depth after Manase Fainu was charged with allegedly stabbing a man in Sydney last month.
Parr said the Cowboysy had not tried to offload Granville but admitted other clubs may try to lure the livewire No.9 after they signed rake Reece Robson from St George Illawarra on a four-year deal from 2020.
Asked if Granville would be at the club next year Parr said: "I can't answer that 100 per cent with surety.
"We haven't rang any other clubs with regards to Jake Granville, but we have signed Reece Robson to a longer-term deal and we have a lot of time for Reece Robson.
"I think other clubs may be looking if they need strengthening of that position then Jake may be someone they look at given our signing of Robson.
"So I can't deny other clubs may have contacted Jake's agent but I can say categorically that we haven't picked up the phone and tried to sell Jake."
Australian Associated Press