Balmain great Steve Roach believes Wests Tigers are likely to lose at least one of their 'Big Four' when a mass of their NRL talent comes off contract at the end of next year.
Aaron Woods, James Tedesco, Luke Brooks and Mitchell Moses are among 21 Tigers players whose contracts expire at the end of 2017.
Tigers chief executive Justin Pascoe has alluded to uncertainty over how much the salary cap will increase for the 2018 season as a speed bump in negotiations.
While an upside is that the lure of a rich new deal will likely bring out the best in the key quartet early next season, former prop Roach has bemoaned the club allowing them all to possibly test the open market at the same time.
"I just can't see how the club can keep all four," Roach told News Corp Australia.
"And it's the club's own fault for letting them come off at the same time.
"They will be all vying against each other for the coin. You can't put four into a package deal.
"I'm a bit worried that if they lose a few of those players, the club will be in dire straits."
Rival clubs have been able to talk with players off contract in 2017 since the beginning of this month.
The club's situation isn't helped by the NRL not having yet announced the new salary cap increase amid ongoing collective bargaining agreement talks.
Player agents fear their clients may be under-remunerated if they rush into signing new deals before the figure if finalised.
"It certainly makes it mathematically challenging, not having an understanding of how much money we can spend on players," Pascoe told News Corp.