DMN’s Todd Archer reported at 3:48 PM CST that the Cowboys have released standout wideout Keyshawn Johnson.
Keyshawn Johnson will no longer be a Cowboy. The Cowboys opted not to pay the veteran receiver a $1 million roster bonus and will release him, saving $1.5 million against the 2006 salary cap.
The Cowboys had until 3 p.m. Tuesday to pay Johnson the bonus, but decided to cut loose their leading receiver the previous two seasons. In two years with the Cowboys, Johnson caught 141 passes for 1,820 yards and 12 touchdowns. â€œKeyshawn is one of a handful of the top competitors that have ever played for the Dallas Cowboys,” Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones said in a news release. â€œThe more he was a part of our team, the more we appreciated him as a player.â€
Johnson was entering the final year of his contract and was seeking a raise. At 33, the Cowboys did not want to invest mega-money into an older receiver. He is also coming off his second knee surgery in as many years.
The release is sure to set off even more speculation that the Cowboys will get in the market for Terrell Owens, who was cut by Philadelphia on Tuesday.
This move is simply bizarre. $1.5 million is dirt cheap for even a number two receiver, let alone someone of Keyshawn’s caliber. I can understand not wanting to give him a long extension at his age but they had him under contract.
Update: In a 5:16 PM CST rewrite entitled Keyshawn not surprised by release, Archer adds some additional insights.
“Iâ€™m not really surprised,” Johnson said. “Sports is a business and a team has to do whatâ€™s right for it. Iâ€™m a little excited about the prospect of being a free agent for the first time in my career, but I owe it to the Dallas Cowboys to give them a chance to re-sign me once I hit the market.
Johnson was entering the final year of his contract and was seeking a raise. The Cowboys did not want to invest big money into Johnson, 33. He is also coming off his second knee surgery in as many years.
Johnson came to the Cowboys in a trade with Tampa Bay for Joey Galloway in 2004 after he was deactivated by Buccaneers coach Jon Gruden for the final six games of the 2003 season. With the Cowboys, Johnson caused no trouble, showing only his fiery personality last season in an exchange with quarterback Drew Bledsoe after a fumble.
â€œIâ€™m bummed to see Keyshawn go,â€ Bledsoe said. â€œI got along well with him and came to really respect him as a player. Iâ€™m disappointed to see him go. He made a lot of plays for me and for the team.â€
While Johnson is one of coach Bill Parcells favorite players, this is the second time Parcells has had a hand in his departure from a team. In 2000, as the New York Jets general manager, Parcells traded Johnson to Tampa Bay.
A FWST report has similar quotes from Johnson:
Johnson, who will represent himself in free agency, said Jones told him that the Cowboys would consider re-signing him once he tested the market and determined his value. Johnson said he would give the Cowboys an opportunity to do so.
It seems unlikely to me that the Cowboys would release Johnson if they intended to sign him back. Given that receivers with far more question marks, such as Cowboys castaway Antonio Bryant, got a whole lot more money on the open market than Dallas balked at for Johnson, I can’t imagine they’ll be able to reach an accord. As a Cowboys fan, though, I hope I’m wrong.
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