Marner remains committed to exploring his options with other teams if there is no agreement with Toronto, Dreger adds.
Since he's already a Leafs player, Marner would be eligible to re-sign for a maximum of eight years on his next deal, as opposed to the seven-year max if he signed with a new team.
In February, franchise cornerstone Auston Matthews also opted against signing for the max term and instead inked a five-year contract with an annual cap hit of $11.63 million. If Marner signs a similar deal, Toronto could potentially see both stars enter unrestricted free agency in their primes.
Marner will become eligible to receive offer sheets from other teams once free agency opens on July 1, and general manager Kyle Dubas admitted it's not a foregone conclusion that the Leafs would match any potential offer.
Toronto would have $7.7 million in projected cap space under the initially estimated cap of $83 million. But with reports that the new cap may be even lower, the Leafs' salary situation could get tighter with RFA forwards Kasperi Kapanen and Andreas Johnsson also in need of new deals.
Marner enjoyed a career year last season, leading the Maple Leafs with 94 points in 82 games.