When the Seattle Seahawks released wide receiver Sidney Rice back in February, it hardly came as a shock. Rice was due to be paid nearly $10 million for the 2014 season and he missed half of 2013 with a torn ACL. He also missed seven games in 2011 and ten in 2010 while with the Vikings.
Even though he had every right to be disappointed and upset, Rice was all class when the word came that he’d been released:
The number #12 will remain on the left side of my chest no matter what! Grateful for the opportunity to share so many special moments w yall
— Sidney Rice (@sidneyrice) February 21, 2014
It’s not every day that an employee has the grace to act like that when they’re let go. Major kudos to Rice for being a man about it.
Since then I’ve heard conflicting news reports about Rice’s future. Some reports have stated that the Seahawks are the only team that are considering signing Rice to a new deal, as in this article by Stephen Cohen of the Seattle Post Intelligencer:
“According to a comment from ESPN Carolina Panthers reporter David Newton, “no team other than Seattle remains interested” in signing the former Pro Bowler. The Seahawks released Rice on Feb. 28, saving the club $7.3 million in salary cap space by parting ways with one of the biggest free-agent acquisitions in franchise history, but he’s attracted little buzz on the open market.”
And then other reports have stated several teams, such as the New York Giants, may be interested.
Personally I find it hard to believe that only one NFL team thinks it could put Rice to good use. He may be injury prone, but Rice has shown a lot of talent in flashes throughout his career. During the 2009 season he amassed over 1300 receiving yards, caught eight touchdowns and played all 16 games. He did have future hall-of-famer Brett Favre throwing him the ball that year, but those are impressive numbers no matter how they come.
Rice makes sense on a couple of levels for the Seahawks. First and foremost he knows the system and wouldn’t have to be brought along like a green rookie. He’s also the right size at 6’4″ and north of 200 pounds. That would make him the biggest member of the reciever corps if Seattle brings him back (outside of the newly signed Chris Matthews.)
But an ACL tear is nothing to sneeze at. For every freak of nature like Adrian Peterson (who came back even stronger) there’s a dozen players that never fully recover from that injury. It’s a career killer for a lot of guys.
If it’s me, I would rather see Rice’s spot go to a younger player. There are loads of big, talented wide receivers in this year’s draft and the Seahawks need to balance winning now with competing long term. However, I can see both sides. Let’s open this up to debate and play a little fantasy GM. I ask you, 12th man. If you were John Schneider, would you bring Rice back or not?
After polling Seahawks fans on Twitter all day, I estimate that they want him back on the team by about a two to one margin, provided that he has a substantially reduced salary. The people have spoken. Make it happen, Schneider.