Daly Cherry-Evans is all but certain to extend his deal with the Manly Sea Eagles, robbing the Broncos of their desired long-term playmaker.
While Cameron Smith, who was heavily targeted by the Broncos, is on the verge of announcing he will finish his career in Melbourne.
These are players who would have taken unders to play for the Broncos a decade ago.
The Sunday Mail spoke to several player managers who admitted their clients were concerned the Broncos would be forced to appoint a new coach for next season.
The managers were unanimous; Brisbane's poor 2013 and doubts over Griffin's long term future were causing apprehension among the playing group.
The club's lack of playmakers and long-term vision was also raised as a roadblock by one Sydney-based manager who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
"They are just off with players at the moment. Players don't like going to clubs when they don't know who the coach will be next year," the agent said.
"I have a couple of players who are waiting to see how they fare in the opening half of the year before really considering the Broncos as an option."
Anthony Griffin is contracted until the end of the 2016 season but needs to progress deep into the finals this year to save his job.
Securing Smith or Cherry-Evans could have helped Griffin, whose team had their first hit out of the year against North Queensland last night.
The Broncos have reached out to Cherry-Evans' management through a third party to gauge his interest in returning to Queensland.
However, ex-Manly captain Paul Vautin told The Sunday Mail the 24-year-old would be Manly's next captain and could even captain Queensland.
"He will be a great captain of that club when Jamie (Lyon) gives it away," Vautin said.
"In a couple of years he will be Manly captain and he can captain that team for five to six years.
"Manly discovered him, they put him on the map.
"He's that good he could be the star of that club for another ten years.
"He showed the world on the World Cup tour how good of a player he is."
Manly is understood to be prepared to lose second rower Glenn Stewart to keep Cherry-Evans.
Cherry-Evans recently admitted that being made captain of Manly would help keep him on the northern beaches.
"Yes I would like to captain the side, and if that was offered it would help in terms of bargain power to keep me at the club," Cherry-Evans said.
The Broncos recruited well for this year bringing Ben Barba and Martin Kennedy north and Anthony Milford will make a major difference to their side from next season.
However, there remains significant salary cap space to lure a mega-star to Brisbane for 2015.
The problem remains, who will come.
Former Broncos captain Gorden Tallis raised concerns the Broncos were fast-becoming a wooden-spoon contender that players avoided.
"I can't sit silently and wait until the Broncos get like Parramatta where there are countless factions all working against each other," he wrote in his column late last year.
"This is the Brisbane Broncos. We are the strongest club in the NRL.
"I know the club is not looked at in the same way it was a few years ago. People tell me the Broncos are not what they used to be.
"Players used to dream to play for the Broncos. They don't anymore."
The list of off-contract marquees for next season is limited, headed by representative props Andrew Fifita and James Graham.
While Newcastle five-eighth Jarrod Mullen and Warriors halfback Shaun Johnson would add creativity although Milford will own the Broncos five-eighth position next year.
The Broncos could be forced to wait for a superstar until the 2016 season, with representative guns Jarryd Hayne, Kieran Foran, James Maloney, Sam Kasiano and Jared Waerea-Hargreaves off contract.
A host of young talent also comes off contract following the 2015 season, including Souths five-eighth Luke Keary and Gold Coast halves Albert Kelly and Aidan Sezer.
The Sunday Mail (Qld)