Jarryd Hayne dropped $700,000 by returning to Parramatta – now the Eels pin-up could be forced to take an even bigger pay cut if he struggles to stay on the field.
Long rest: Jarryd Hayne is set be out for a further six weeks after re-injuring his hip flexor.
Hayne said on Thursday he would be sidelined for up to six weeks with a new hip-flexor injury he suffered in the club's first win over Manly on Sunday.
Signed for just this season – a $500,000 deal after he bailed a year early on his whopping $1.2 million contract with the Titans – Hayne was confident he had plenty of time left in this season to string a few matches together and prove his worth.
And so did one of his best mates, Parramatta co-captain Tim Mannah, who said: "I've got no doubts once he gets into a bit of rhythm and plays a few back to back games he'll really deliver for us.''
Now 30, Hayne was quiet in the first two rounds, and lasted half an hour against Manly before he hobbled off.
It is understood the kind of money Hayne could command now would be closer to $300,000 a season, especially with clubs keen to splurge most of their cash on key positions like the halves, hookers and fullbacks.
"We're only seven rounds in, I've played two-and-a-half games, we're not even mid-year, so there's plenty of footy left,'' Hayne said.
"I'm not thinking about it. My thoughts are about getting back on the field and we'll see how it all pans out.''
When asked if he was worried rival clubs might be turned away by his recent injuries and age, Hayne said: "You'll have to ask other clubs. My focus is getting the body right and let the rest look after itself.
"I'm just doing me, staying in my lane, and whatever happens, happens.''
Pressed on getting back to his best, Hayne said: "I'm not fortune teller, but I just need to get the body right and see if the legs have still got it.''
Hayne was worshipped in the western suburbs when he first burst on to the scene, and his golden run to lead Parramatta to an unlikely 2009 grand final will never be forgotten.
I'm just doing me, staying in my lane, and whatever happens, happens.
Even though he remains a freakish talent when fit, he has also made a point of helping out behind the scenes at the club, and even completed media duties on Thursday when injured players were not required.
"One of the main reasons I came back here was to obviously help the club moving forward,' Hayne said.
"That's the biggest thing, helping the blokes on the verge of coming int their prime, guys like 'Gutho' [Clint Gutherson], 'Norm' [Corey Norman], young blokes like that. That's where I see the most rewards.
"It's all good going on the field and doing what I do, but for me it's about pushing those guys.''
Hayne was the player who revved up the forwards last week during the heated session that left players bloodied.
Mannah would love Hayne's second coming to last longer than a year, and said: "I've seen first-hand what he can do my whole career, and he'd be always someone who would be first picked in my team, but those questions are more for [coach] Brad [Arthur] and his staff.
"Some people just have it, and whatever it is he's got it.''
Mannah said his presence, albeit brief, on the wing last Sunday against Manly had given the players a lift.
Eels boss Bernie Gurr said despite the latest injury, there had been no rush from the club nor player to open negotiations about 2019 and beyond.
"Even if he has three or four weeks off now, we'll still have quite a substantial part of the season for Jarryd to provide us with a representative sample of games so he can show what he has got,'' Gurr said.
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