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Racing against a Friday deadline, the Kansas City Chiefs must either rework Elvis Grbac's huge contract or find another quarterback. On Monday, they were still exploring both options.

The Chiefs have begun preliminary talks with the St. Louis Rams for quarterback Trent Green, agent Jim Steiner confirmed Monday. They are also working on restructuring the contract for Grbac, which calls for a cap-busting $10 million bonus if he's on the roster by Friday, when all NFL teams need to be at the salary cap spending limit for 2001 of $67.4 million.

Steiner, the agent for both Green and Grbac, said he expected the talks to heat up in the next three days.

The Chiefs ended the season almost $30 million over the cap and have already released several veterans, including running backs Donnell Bennett and Kimble Anders.

"The Rams are shopping Trent, no question about it," Steiner told the Associated Press.

Steiner said the Chiefs had offered first- and second-round draft picks in exchange for Green and a second-round choice.

Raiders cut Johnstone

The Raiders made defensive end Lance Johnstone a wealthy man a little more than seven months ago by signing him to a seven-year, $35 million contract. Today, Johnstone is unemployed.

The Raiders decided not to make a $3.5 million payment to Johnstone that would have activated the remainder of his contract.

Johnstone, who had only 3 1/2 sacks last season, received a $3 million signing bonus when he signed the deal last July. The Raiders are liable for about $2.5 million against their salary cap this season.

Around the league

Miami is making an effort to re-sign kicker Olindo Mare, but is getting competition from Washington. At last weekend's NFL combine, members of the Redskins' front office were seen dining with agents of several top kickers who may be available in free agency, such as Steve Christie of Buffalo and Joe Nedney of Carolina.

Green Bay is close to a new contract with quarterback Brett Favre that will shave $3 million to $4 million off the team's cap but the team is still $6 million over. Running back Dorsey Levens, center Frank Winters and tackle Earl Dotson must take large paycuts to avoid being released.

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