Two prominent receivers expected to seek trades

Wide receivers know how to produce big catches and lingering storylines.

The next two could be coming out of Cincinnati and Denver, where Bengals wide receiver Chad Johnson and Broncos wide receiver Javon Walker are expected to try to seek trades.

Cincinnati sounds far less open to dealing its wide receiver than Denver.

Since last season, when the grumblings about Johnson's future first began, the Bengals have been adamant about refusing to trade the receiver who set the franchise record this season for receiving yardage.

However, a showdown is looming in Cincinnati, where few of the Bengals are happy with the way this past season went and some, including Johnson, could opt to seek their exit.

For starters, Johnson and Palmer did not connect the way they did in other seasons. Also, the Bengals are expected to try to retain Pro Bowl wide receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh, who has one year remaining on his contract. Should the two sides come to the agreement that many expect, it could send Johnson back to the bargaining table to rework a six-year, $35.5 million contract extension he signed in April 2006.

However it plays out, sources close to the situation insist that the Bengals have not heard the last from Johnson this off-season. The story is just beginning.

As for Walker, Denver will look to deal him in the coming months. The Broncos are reluctant to pay Walker the $5.4 million option bonus payment due to him. Denver surrendered a second-round pick to Green Bay two years ago and since then, Walker has battled injuries and controversy, the most recent coming Sunday when he said he didn't want to return to Denver for next season.

Now Denver will seek to find a new home for Walker.

Teams in the market for free-agent wide receivers could choose from Oakland's Jerry Porter, New England's Jabar Gaffney or New Orleans' David Patten, among others. But rather than signing a free-agent wide out, teams could decide to trade for one.

At least one, and possibly two, will be available.

Tuna helper

Dolphins executive Bill Parcells and Miami's general manager Jeff Ireland fired Cam Cameron because they didn't believe he was "philosophically compatible" with them.

But Cowboys assistant head coach Tony Sparano is. Many around the league believe Sparano is as much a favorite to become the Dolphins next head coach as Ireland was to become Miami's general manager.

Sparano called plays while working under Parcells in Dallas. Some believe Parcells would have liked the chance to hire Browns head coach Romeo Crennel, but he is not available the way Sparano is.

Other candidates on Parcells' radar include Cardinals offensive coordinator Todd Haley and Cardinals running backs coach Maurice Carthon. But Sparano -- who specializes in the offensive line, an area in which the Dolphins dismissed highly-regarded offensive line coach Hudson Houck on Thursday -- is the leader in the clubhouse.

But speculation about Parcells is not limited to Sparano. Many expect him to hire Cowboys secondary coach Todd Bowles as Miami's defensive coordinator and Giants quarterbacks coach Chris Palmer as Miami's offensive coordinator.

Not ready yet

Atlanta and Baltimore asked for and received permission to interview New England's offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels for its head coaching jobs. But McDaniels told both organizations thanks, but no thanks.

Perhaps this should not be so surprising. Patriots coach Bill Belichick, who has advised many of his coaching colleagues, believes that it is important for a coach to be the one who turns down interviews rather than be the coach that gets turned down.

Statement from Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels:

"I am very grateful for the chance to interview for NFL head coaching positions but I have decided not to pursue those opportunities at this time. I plan to focus all my attention on our postseason preparation."

Belichick likely advised McDaniels, who informed both organizations that he felt he needed another year of on-the-job training before beginning any head coaching interviews. Thus, the Falcons and Ravens crossed the name off their list and went on to their next candidate.

Now, Blank is learning it sometimes is tougher to run a football team than a business conglomerate.

Not only did McDaniels decline the chance to interview with Atlanta two weeks after Bill Parcells turned down the GM job, but Colts vice president of football operations Chris Polian also turned down the chance to interview with Blank.

Polian's decision had nothing to do with Blank, who has drawn praise from coaching and general manager candidates from around the league. Polian's decision had everything to do with being more comfortable in Indianapolis, where many consider him to be the natural heir to his father, Colts president Bill Polian.

Without Polian on his radar, Blank still has plenty of GM candidates from which to choose. He spent Wednesday in Green Bay with Packers officials Reggie McKenzie and John Schneider, and he is scheduled to interview Eagles general manager Tom Heckert early next week, possibly Monday, in Atlanta.

Ideally Blank, who has been accompanied on his interview tour with former Falcons general manager Rich McKay, would hire his general manager first. But the Falcons want to find a couple of good men to right their franchise.

Baltimore's busy

Baltimore kicks off its interview process Friday, though where the Ravens will do it is something of a mystery.

Who the Ravens will interview this weekend is not.

The Ravens asked for and received permission to interview Dallas assistant head coach Tony Sparano and offensive coordinator Jason Garrett, and Indianapolis assistant head coach Jim Caldwell.

A Baltimore official confirmed the team will interview at least four coaching candidates this weekend, and there could be a fifth.

Baltimore also plans to interview its former defensive coordinator Rex Ryan. However, Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti told Ryan that he thought it would be a better idea if the interview came off Baltimore officials had conducted other ones first. Thus Ryan will wait until at least next week before he sits down with Bisciotti and presents his plan as to how to right the Ravens.

In the interim, the Ravens continue their exhaustive search process, whittling down their list of candidates from 30 to a number that Bisciotti and others can interview.

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