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Bucs' cap issues hinder trade talks with Dallas

By RICK STROUD
Published February 27, 2004

TAMPA - The Cowboys would prefer to finalize a trade for Keyshawn Johnson and send Joey Galloway to the Bucs by the start of the free-agent signing period Wednesday.

But the Bucs' salary-cap restraints might make that difficult, possibly forcing the Cowboys to release Galloway and send a future draft pick to Tampa Bay for Johnson. Galloway's agent, Leigh Steinberg, began preliminary discussions on a restructured contract for the receiver with Bucs general manager Bruce Allen.

But unless an agreement is reached soon, the Cowboys will be forced to either retain Galloway, restructure his $6.3-million contract or release him.

Galloway will count $6.8-million against the Cowboys' salary cap in 2004, a figure they can't live with. "One way or another, we'll have to do something with Joey's contract with Dallas," Steinberg said. "It doesn't necessarily have to be with Tampa Bay. I guess they could trade for Keyshawn with something else than Joey."

In other news, the Bucs signed receiver Sylvester Morris and defensive lineman Damian Gregory. Morris, a first-round pick of the Chiefs in 2000, is the sixth receiver signed by the Bucs since the end of the 2003 season. But knee and hip injuries have sidelined him the past three seasons. Gregory last appeared in a regular-season game with the Browns in 2002.

LEWIS UPDATE: Ravens running back Jamal Lewis pleaded innocent in Atlanta to federal drug charges that he tried to help a childhood friend buy cocaine in the summer of 2000. Lewis was released on $500,000 bond on charges he conspired to possess with the intent to distribute five kilograms of cocaine, during which he used a cell phone in violation of federal law. U.S. Magistrate E. Clayton Scofield III said Lewis can travel nationwide while he awaits trial, but can have no contact with co-defendant Angelo Jackson or government witnesses. If convicted of conspiracy, Lewis could face 10 years to life in prison.

VINNY RETIRING?: Vinny Testaverde, the 1987 No. 1 overall draft pick, is considering retirement at age 40. Testaverde said he will not participate in offseason workouts with the Jets. He primarily was the backup quarterback to Chad Pennington the past two seasons.

- Information from Times wires was used in this report.

[Last modified February 27, 2004, 01:31:31]

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