NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg has confirmed the game has a 'material adverse change provision' in players' contracts that could affect salaries in a catastrophic situation.
Continuing the competition without crowds in round two, and faced with the potential shut down of the competition due to the coronavirus pandemic, the NRL is staring at a financial black hole and is desperately working to avoid it.
They have already begun looking into cutting costs in the central administration, and while renegotiating with the Rugby League Players Association (RLPA) over contracts is still a way off, Greenberg admitted it is an option.
"Let me be really clear. No one is saying at the moment that players are taking pay cuts. That's not what we're saying," he told media on Monday.
"What we're saying is, in the funding agreements with every constituent in the game, when the revenues drop there's an ability for us to renegotiate some of those deals.
"We're not suggesting at the moment that's what we're doing, we're saying that's what's in our contracts.
"Of course everyone's looking to tighten their belt. We are looking in the central administration where we can stop costs, save costs, and we're doing all of those things as you would expect, and as I would expect all 16 clubs would be doing right now too."
On Sunday the RLPA confirmed to AAP that the extraordinary measure would only be eligible to come into effect in 2021, and only after other costs to players, such as marketing payments and injury-hardship funds, were cut.
The provision exists under the collective-bargaining agreement with the RLPA that was formed in 2017.
Greenberg said it would allow the NRL to renegotiate the salary cap if - as is likely if competition is suspended for an extended period - revenues drop significantly.
It would effectively force players to take a pay cut as equal partners in the game.
"Potentially. It may be that in any industry where your revenues don't exceed your costs, you have to have another look at how those costs are fixed," Greenberg said.