Feb 5, 2014; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Sidney Rice (18, second from left) films the crowd during a Super Bowl championship parade held in downtown Seattle. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Seattle Seahawks Rumors: Will Sidney Rice Return?

Sidney Rice is still looking for a job, and apparently teams are not lining up to procure his services for the 2014 season. Should the Seattle Seahawks bring him back?

There is still a lot to like about Sidney Rice. He is tall, athletic and has the potential to be an explosive playmaker. He did catch 50 balls and score seven touchdowns in 2012. There is mutual understanding and he knows the system that Seattle runs.

Unfortunately, there are concerns. Actually, there is really one concern. The problem is health. Rice has missed 25 games over the last four seasons. Sadly, that is not a typo. If he were a baseball player, 25 missed games over four years would be perfectly acceptable. Unfortunately, there are a few less games in the NFL.

If you bring Rice back, you probably offer a bargain basement deal that is laden with incentives. The longer you wait, the lower the price might be for Rice to return.

Then again, there may be wisdom in moving on. Rice is “only” 27, but would the Seahawks be better off with a younger, cheaper and healthier rookie? Any rookie is a risk, but adding a project to a group of receivers that already includes Percy Harvin, Doug Baldwin and Jermaine Kearse might not be all bad.

At this point, it may be best to wait. The Seahawks can see what they come up with in the draft and then ascertain whether Sidney Rice fills a need going forward. If he gets signed by another club between now and then, so be it.

He could always sign with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Every other former Seahawk seems to be going there.

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Tags: Nfl Free Agency Rumors Seattle Seahawks

  • JTGleason

    Here’s an interesting tidbit… We are still paying Sidney $2.4M in guaranteed (dead-cap) money for 2014. Since we are paying him anyways, why not offer a little bit more for retention, and utilize that money?

    It could save us using a high round draft pick for WR, and the little extra money might be for less than said pick. Rice could re-establish himself, and the Seahawks could prioritize this year’s draft for other spots, while waiting for next year’s crop of receivers.

    • Todd Pheifer

      Certainly a good argument, but I imagine there is going to be some hesitancy about paying a guy anything if there exists the semi-strong possibility that he could get hurt again. I could see the Seahawks moving on from Rice and looking for a third, fourth or fifth-round project to develop.

      • JTGleason

        I’ve been trying to guess at it from a Seahawks’ draft intention point of view, also. If Rice’s ACL is a no-go at physical, then I’d say his grass will be greener in other pastures. But with Harvin as their long term investment (healthy for now), and the way they went quickly all-after for obscurities Chris Matthews, and Taylor Price, I figure that they’ve already had their plan in place. Just the fact that Rice was released, and Tate’s offer was supposedly laughable makes that seem even more so.

        The Seahawks only have two picks in the first two rounds, and their next is at the end of the 4th. If they don’t make a WR pick at #32, or even #64, I don’t know who would make any difference in the late rounds that they couldn’t pick there anyways, and wouldn’t be a crap-shoot besides, but I think they have WR covered enough for other needs higher up, than spend it on another one.

        P.S. I think the Seahawks turned back to Rice as a better option than earlier hopeful Jermichael Finley. Rice could be specialized for his red-zone height as I suspect Finley was sought for, but even I’d rather re-sign a former leg injury recovering teammate for cheaper, than a player who can’t risk being tackled because of a broken neck.

    • RegisHawk

      That’s accelerated Signing Bonus pro-ration from his previous contract (1.2 million/year for the last 2 years). There’s no way to finagle that. If they had restructured him instead of cutting him, maybe they could have rearranged the dollars, but that’s all water under the bridge now.

      • JTGleason

        Rice will get his $2.4M whether he plays for another team, or drinks a beer watching Red-Zone on Sundays. But if no other team is calling him, the Seahawks could offer a separate contract comparable to a rookie deal on top of that bonus, and treat it as a supplement rather than spend a pick for a new WR in the draft. Contract wise it would all be dead-cap money, but even two separate paychecks going into the same bank account could be treated as a total value for his services… at least theoretically as a restructure.

        • RegisHawk

          He already got that money. It was Signing Bonus, which is paid to the player immediately (when they sign). For Cap purposes, Signing Bonuses are allowed to be pro-rated over the (original) duration of the contract. Rice’s contract was for 5 years with a 6 million bonus, so they took a 1.2 million cap hit for each of the first 3 years. Because they cut him, they had to account for the remaining 2.4 million in this one year. Once cut, no other contract can include manipulation of that money…and no player (read: agent) is going to go for what you’re hinting at (that Rice should consider that amortized 2.4 million as part of his next contract).

          I’d rather get a new, young WR. We have a pretty full (regulation) roster at this point anyway, so we’re at the point where you want to fill out the 90 man (preseason) roster with prospects and let competition sort them out.

  • Jeff

    Signing Rice could depend on what the Hawks do in the draft. If a high pick is used on a wideout, and another is chosen later, then I don’t see it. If you could get a WR/punt returner like Beckham at #32, or perhaps Cooks, then add Rice, but if it’s one of the taller wideouts who doesn’t return punts, then that #5 WR spot would likely be occupied by a return specialist selected on day 3 of the draft. Of course they also could prefer Finley if he clears medically, filling a Mike Williams type role where he’d mostly be a receiver for the team.