posted on Oct, 19 2004 @ 05:53 PM
Bucs trade McCardell to Chargers for two draft picks
By FRED GOODALL, AP Sports Writer
October 19, 2004
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) -- Keenan McCardell wanted out of Tampa Bay, and the Buccaneers obliged Tuesday by trading the NFL's last holdout to the San Diego
Chargers for two picks in next year's draft.
``Keenan obviously made a decision a long time ago that he was not going to be happy with the economics of his contract,'' Bucs general manager Bruce
``I don't think we need that coming back to the locker room, whenever he was going to come back. I've heard different dates. I don't think we'll ever
know the answer to that.''
McCardell stayed away from training camp and vowed to sit out the entire season if the Bucs did not give him a substantial raise over the $2.5 million
he was scheduled to earn under a contract that also would have paid him $2.75 million in 2005.
The 34-year-old McCardell accumulated $185,000 in fines during training camp and lost $882,360 in salary for missing the first six games of the
regular season. In all, his holdout lasted 82 days.
Tampa Bay has filed a grievance seeking half of the $2 million signing bonus McCardell received when he signed a four-year, $10 million contract as a
free agent two years ago.
``Keenan made a business decision and it could cost him a lot of money,'' Allen said. ``None of the grievances have been waived. I hope for him, he's
happy. I really do.''
The deal with the Chargers, who gave up third- and sixth-round draft picks in 2005, came just over a week after McCardell flew to Tampa from his home
in Houston to meet with coach Jon Gruden in an unsuccessful bid to end the stalemate.
With the two-time Pro Bowl selection holding out and Joe Jurevicius and Joey Galloway injured, the Bucs have had to rely more than they originally
expected on rookie wideout Michael Clayton.
Clayton had eight receptions for 142 yards in Monday night's 28-21 loss to the St. Louis Rams. His emergence, as well as the prospect of getting
Jurevicius and Galloway back into the lineup soon, played a role in the decision to move McCardell.
The trade is timely for San Diego, too. The Chargers' leading wide receiver, Reche Caldwell, hurt his right knee in a 21-20 loss at Atlanta and is out
for the season, although general manager A.J. Smith said the acquisition of McCardell had nothing to do with the injury.
``We had an opportunity to add a terrific player. I'm sure we all knew it wasn't going to resolve itself in Tampa,'' Smith said. ``Over the weekend
there were some developments and we had an opportunity to jump in on this thing.''
Caldwell is San Diego's leading wideout, with 18 catches for 310 yards -- an average of 17.2 yards -- and three scores. Tight end Antonio Gates leads
the team with 37 catches for 422 yards and three scores.
The last time a wideout led the Chargers in receiving was 2001, when Curtis Conway had 71 catches for 1,125 yards and six touchdowns. Star running
back LaDainian Tomlinson led the Chargers in catches the last two years, including in 2003 when he caught 100 balls for 725 yards and four TDs.
Smith said the Chargers did not renegotiate McCardell's contract.
``That's already been resolved, that he'll honor the contract. The agent has said that to just about everybody in the last week or so,'' Smith said.
``He just wants to move on and play football.''
McCardell said in a statement that he's happy that the situation has been resolved.
``I also want to assure the Chargers that I have been working hard every day to stay in peak physical condition, and I am prepared to come in and make
an immediate contribution,'' he said.
McCardell signed with Tampa Bay as a free agent in 2002 and capped his first season in Gruden's offense by catching two touchdown passes in the Bucs'
Super Bowl victory over the Oakland Raiders.
He was selected to the Pro Bowl in 2003, finishing with 84 receptions for 1,174 yards and scoring a career-high eight TDs.
One of just 17 players in league history with more than 700 career receptions, McCardell was seeking a deal that would pay him the average for No. 1
receivers -- about $4.4 million.
In 12 seasons with three teams, McCardell has 724 receptions for 9,370 yards and 52 touchdowns