By Jim Moore
The Seahawks wisely released Sidney Rice in February to save $7.3 million in salary-cap space.
Now they should re-sign him if he’s willing to accept a much smaller salary with incentives.
Sidney Rice never reached the production of his 2009 Pro Bowl season for the Vikings in his three seasons with the Seahawks, and he was released earlier this offseason. (AP)
On Monday, Rice received medical clearance to work out for NFL teams. As you’ll recall, he tore his ACL last October in the eighth game of the season at St. Louis.
Rice was having a down year – 15 catches for 231 yards, and he was generally considered a disappointment in his three years here.
He had a hard time staying healthy and a harder time justifying the five-year, $41 million contract the Seahawks gave him in 2011 with $18 million guaranteed.
Rice never looked like the guy who went to the Pro Bowl in 2009 after having 83 receptions for 1,312 yards with the Vikings.
We saw glimpses of his greatness in 2012 – against the Patriots, he caught the deciding touchdown on a 46-yard pass from Russell Wilson in a 24-23 win at Century Link Field.
Two months later in a 23-17 victory over the Bears at Soldier Field, he had six catches for 99 yards, including the game-winning TD.
If Rice were to return to the Seahawks at a drastically reduced price, I’m looking for negatives and can’t think of any.
At 6-foot-4, he’d be the tall, rangy receiver they’re currently lacking. They lost Golden Tate to the Lions, but how good would this receiving corps be with Percy Harvin, Doug Baldwin, Jermaine Kearse and Rice? I don’t think anyone would be calling them pedestrian anymore.
What if Rice comes back and gets hurt again? What if he makes another trip to Switzerland for some kind of magical medical procedure that doesn’t work out?
So what. If they’re paying him peanuts, it’s worth the risk when you consider the best-case scenario.
Rice turns 28 on Sept. 1. He could not only help you this year but for years to come. If he and Harvin are healthy for 16 games – a big “if,” I know – imagine the possibilities for the Seahawks’ offense.
If I were John Schneider, I’d be making a big push to re-sign Rice, which means he probably isn’t because anything I’m in favor of is likely a bad idea.
But let’s say he is pursuing Rice. I’d say it’s 50-50 at best that the Seahawks re-sign him.
According to an ESPN.com post I saw this morning, the Seahawks are the favorites to sign him among the other teams who are reportedly interested in Rice – Carolina, New Orleans and the New York Giants.
They’re the favorites because they have the most room under the salary cap at $15.8 million. Carolina, which needs receiving help the most, is $2.7 million under the cap; the Saints are at $3.7 million and the Giants are at $4.1 million.
But the Seahawks also have an Earl Thomas extension in the works, which reduces their wiggle room.
Carolina could really use Rice, and it’s thought he might want to play for the Panthers since he grew up in Gaffney, S.C., just an hour from Charlotte.
But I’m hoping he’ll want to return to the Seahawks. He’s familiar with the system and was said to have enjoyed his time here.
If the Seahawks get Rice, they could still draft a tall, gifted receiver and groom him for the future – maybe even redshirt him like they did Christine Michael last year.
The chance for another Lombardi Trophy in which Rice has a more active role could lure him back and trump higher offers elsewhere.
The Go 2 Guy also writes for his website jimmoorethego2guy.com and kitsapsun.com. You can reach Jim at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @cougsgo.