Steve Caric, who is a spokeperson for Tampa Bay wide receiver Keenan McCardell’s agent, told PewterReport.com on Friday that he was recently informed by a source that an offer to trade McCardell to Kansas in exchange for running back Larry Johnson had been rejected by the Buccaneers.

When asked for comment on Friday, Bucs general manager Bruce Allen suggested there was no truth to the trade nix talk.

“As usual this rumor is false,” Allen said.

The Bucs, who placed starting tailback Charlie Garner on injured reserve on Wednesday, are not believed to be interested in trading for Johnson, who has reportedly been on the trading block for the past two weeks.

McCardell, who caught a team-high 84 passes for 1,174 yards and scored a career-high nine touchdowns en route to earning a trip to the Pro Bowl in 2003, was scheduled to earn $2.5 million this season before he opted to hold out for a new contract that would pay him like the team’s number one receiver, which would would call for approximately a $2 million annual salary increase.

Despite having a depleted group of wide receivers, the 0-3 Bucs have refused to negotiate with McCardell, citing the fact that he’s one of the NFL’s highest-paid receivers and has two years remaining on the contract he signed as a free agent back in 2002.

Caric said contract proposals sent to the Bucs from he and agent Gary Uberstine would significantly lower McCardell’s $3 million cap value this season, but the two-time Pro Bowler’s salary currently doesn’t count toward the team’s salary cap and won’t until he reports.

McCardell has said in the past that he is willing to sit out the entire 2004 season if the Bucs do not trade or release him, or meet his contract demands.

After Sunday’s contest between Tampa Bay and Denver, McCardell will have missed the first four games of the 2004 regular season, which amounts to a loss of about $600,000 in game checks. McCardell has accumulated approximately $315,000 in daily fines since his holdout officially began on July 30.

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