After winning the Super Bowl, the Seattle Seahawks have decided that Sidney Rice is expendable, and the team reportedly will release the wide receiver.
Updates from Friday, Feb. 28
The Seahawks officially announced Rice's release via Twitter:
Defensive end Red Bryant & wide receiver Sidney Rice have been released from the club.— Seattle Seahawks (@Seahawks) February 28, 2014
ESPN's Adam Schefter first provided the details of the potential move:
Seahawks are releasing WR Sidney Rice, per league source. Rice signed a five-year, $41 million contract in July 2011.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) February 21, 2014
Sidney Rice eventually tweeted what sounds like a goodbye:
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
The 27-year-old receiver's 2013 season ended early when he suffered a torn ACL in Week 8 against the St. Louis Rams. Prior to that, Rice only managed 231 yards on 15 catches with three touchdowns.
Rice's best year of his three with the Seahawks came in 2012 when he totaled 748 receiving yards and seven touchdowns, but it is clear that he was never able to live up to his contract after coming over from the Minnesota Vikings.
Following the Super Bowl, Mike Coppinger of NFL.com noted that Rice was due $9.7 million in 2014. By releasing him, Seattle now has $7.3 million in cap savings. This gives the squad a chance to re-sign a number of key free agents in an attempt to defend its title.
Of course, the strong play of multiple young players at the position reduced Rice's value to Seattle. Golden Tate, Doug Baldwin and Jermaine Kearse all had productive seasons, while Percy Harvin is one of the best in the league when healthy.
However, the one thing the team loses with this move is size at the position. Rice stands at 6'4" and was one of the better red-zone targets on the roster.
Still, general manager John Schneider explained the problems with keeping a team together to Jayson Jenks of The Seattle Times:
We are going to try to do whatever we can possible to try to keep this core together, and there are going to be tough decisions. ... But if you want to be a consistent, championship-caliber football team, you have to have those tough decisions made. You can’t keep everybody. And it’s actually a sad thing.
Rice appears to be one of those roster casualties, and he will have to look for a new team this offseason. Despite his injuries, he still has plenty of talent and can provide a squad with a veteran presence in the receiving corps.
Additionally, the price is likely to be relatively cheap as he attempts to recover from his ACL surgery.
This makes it likely that the receiver finds a contract that suits him somewhere in the NFL before the start of the 2014 season.
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