Jets' Johnson open to becoming a Raven

Pro Bowl receiver not opposed to trade if contract demands met

March 23, 2000|By Ken Murray | Ken Murray,SUN STAFF

A source close to Keyshawn Johnson says the New York Jets' Pro Bowl receiver has indicated he would not be averse to a trade that brought him to the Ravens as long as they met his salary requirements.

Those requirements -- including a contract worth $7 million a year -- would make Johnson the highest-paid receiver in the NFL.

The source said Johnson is upset with the way the Jets have handled his request for a new contract. Bill Parcells, the team's director of football operations, began shopping Johnson during the scouting combine in February, fearful of a prolonged holdout by his star player.

Johnson was further agitated when the Jets issued a statement Tuesday that they would not listen to any trade offers "at this time," but also said they were unwilling to renegotiate the final two years of his contract because of salary cap problems.

Johnson, the source said, is puzzled by the organization's refusal to reward him for his performance. He has 172 catches for 2,301 yards and 18 touchdowns over the past two seasons, both of which ended with Pro Bowl appearances.

Asked about the Jets' declaration they have taken Johnson off the trading block, Ozzie Newsome, the Ravens' vice president of player personnel, said, "Status hasn't changed."

He would neither clarify nor elaborate, but it would appear -- at the least -- that the Jets have not told the Ravens that Johnson is no longer available.

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