Salary cap constraints may hinder trade

Updated: February 27, 2004, 1:12 PM ET news services

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers initiated negotiations with the agent for Joey Galloway on Thursday, but the likelihood of completing a trade before the league's salary cap compliance deadline remains in doubt.

One day after the Dallas Cowboys' receiver spoke with Bucs coach Jon Gruden about the trade that would send Galloway to Tampa Bay in exchange for Bucs receiver Keyshawn Johnson, Galloway's agent, Leigh Steinberg, began contract talks with the Bucs.

"We had a first discussion and exchanged some ideas," Steinberg told the Tampa Bay Tribune. "We discussed some initial concepts, and we're going to talk again [Friday] probably."

While both the Cowboys and Buccaneers have expressed interest in exchanging the receivers, the players' salaries and effects on each team's salary cap restraints might make completing the trade difficult, the St. Petersburg Times reports.

The Bucs, believed to be $234,000 over the salary cap, would need to reach an agreement to restructure Galloway's contract by March 3 so that the team could be below the $80.6 million salary cap by the league's deadline.

Johnson, the league's 10th-highest-paid receiver, will also need his salary to be restructured to appease the Cowboys, as he has four seasons left on an eight-year, $56 million contract and is due a $1 million bonus on April 1.

Galloway, the league's fifth-highest-paid receiver, has three years left on a seven-year, $42 million deal.

A failure to restructure the deals of either Galloway or Johnson could force the Cowboys to release Galloway and instead send a future draft pick to the Bucs for Johnson, the Times reported.

Galloway will count $6.8 million against Dallas' salary cap in 2004, a figure the Cowboys are not willing to take on, even though they are believed to be more than $15 million under the projected cap, according to the Tribune.

"We were going to have to redo Joey's contract anyway, so this is not something we didn't think we'd have to do," Steinberg told the Tribune.

"It doesn't necessarily have to be with Tampa Bay. I guess they could trade for Keyshawn with something else than Joey," Steinberg added, in the Times' report.

Johnson's agent did not comment Thursday on the status of negotiations between Johnson and the Cowboys, but has been in discussions with Dallas officials since Tuesday and is believed to be making progress, according to the Tribune.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.