WR more upbeat about potential trade

Updated: February 27, 2004, 12:13 PM ET
Associated Press

DALLAS -- The potential swap of Keyshawn Johnson and Joey Galloway moved forward Wednesday with Galloway interrupting a vacation in Mexico to talk to his prospective coach, Tampa Bay's Jon Gruden.

Galloway's trip already was jolted Tuesday when his agent, Leigh Steinberg, broke the news that the Dallas Cowboys were considering dealing him to the Buccaneers. Surprised and disappointed at first, Galloway was more comfortable after calling Gruden on Wednesday.

"It was very positive and upbeat," Steinberg said. "Joey was impressed by coach Gruden's offensive mind."

The teams are interested in swapping the receivers, but only if they can get the finances right. That requires both players restructure their contracts with the clubs that would be acquiring them.

Galloway's talk with Gruden was a precursor for Steinberg to begin contract talks with Tampa Bay general manager Bruce Allen.

Because Johnson played three seasons for Cowboys coach Bill Parcells with the New York Jets, he probably doesn't need to chat with his prospective coach before opening contract negotiations.

He said Wednesday that his agent, Jerome Stanley, hadn't talked with Dallas since Tuesday.

"There is no news from this end," Johnson said.

Johnson has four seasons remaining on a $56 million, eight-year contract. He's also due a $1 million bonus April 1, but is likely to be gone by then because of a squabble with Gruden that caused him to be deactivated the final six games last season.

Galloway has three years left on a $42 million, seven-year deal.

Dallas sent two first-round picks to Seattle to make Galloway a deep threat for Troy Aikman, but the pair ended up playing only one game together. Galloway hurt a knee in the opener and was out for the rest of what turned out to be Aikman's last season.

The Cowboys have changed offensive systems several times since and Galloway has never become the marquee player owner Jerry Jones envisioned. Jones has said he regrets making the deal with the Seahawks because of how much he gave up.

He had 34 catches for 672 yards and two touchdowns last season, when Dallas went 10-6 and made the playoffs in Parcells' first season.

"He was expecting to be part of Dallas' continuing march to a Super Bowl," Steinberg said. "He's made an adjustment before, so he understands. Tampa is obviously an attractive franchise."

One season after winning the Super Bowl, the Bucs missed the playoffs, with the Johnson-Gruden conflict among their many problems.

Johnson and Parcells got along fine with the Jets and have remained amicable. The week the Bucs played the Cowboys last season, Johnson tweaked Gruden by calling Parcells his favorite coach. He's since said that Dallas is among five teams he wouldn't mind joining.

Johnson was the top pick of the 1996 draft, one year before Parcells joined the Jets. He was traded to Tampa Bay for two first-round picks after four seasons. Last fall, Parcells explained that his role in the deal was collecting information and presenting it to ownership, which had the final call.

Johnson's two best seasons were his last two with the Jets. His position coach then was Todd Haley, whom the Cowboys hired last month.

This deal couldn't be official until March 3, although the parameters could be set before then.

Allen told Stanley earlier this month that he was looking for a trade because that would be better for Tampa Bay's salary cap.

The Cowboys already were considering renegotiating Galloway's deal, but had yet to discuss it with Steinberg. The agent didn't consider that strange, though, because he's worked out so many deals with them before.

"Given our history, I knew we'd be able to work things out quickly," Steinberg said. "I wasn't particularly anxious."

Allen also has a long history with Jones, having worked many trades during his tenure with the Oakland Raiders.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press