NFL Free Agency: Sidney Rice Is Newest Ex-Viking To Sign with Seattle Seahawks
At first, the idea of snagging Sidney Rice seemed like an idealistic pipe dream, the sort that you talk about with your buddies. A dream offseason with no salary cap to speak of.
After reports of Rice and agent Drew Rosenhaus wanting to test the open market and a reported two-sided battle between the Minnesota Vikings and Seattle Seahawks to sign Rice, it seemed like the Seahawks could actually woo the 24-year-old star receiver.
It seemed too good to be true.
But with money to spend, GM John Schneider went after one of the top players available in free agency, and signed Rice for five years for $41 million with $18.5 million guaranteed, pending a physical.
Truthfully, the Seahawks have not had a franchise receiver for years, and although expensive, Rice fills that spot immediately. Ever since Steve Largent, Seahawks fans have had to settle for Darrell Jackson, Bobby Engram and then Mike Williams, this past season.
While they have turned in nice seasons, fans are in for a true treat with Rice over the next several years. Possessing elite hands and the ability to win jump-balls, he is a de-facto deep threat that will stretch defenses and give headaches to opposing defensive coordinators.
Turning in a Pro Bowl season in 2009, Rice caught 83 passes for 1,312 yards and eight touchdowns. Although some pass the stats off as a result of Brett Favre's brilliant year, others argue that Rice's playmaking ability and knack for catching anything thrown to him was actually what made Favre a lot better.
Also, his 15.8 YPC average suggests that even with the deep passes, he was still a significant factor in the short-mid range passing game.
Will Charlie Whitehurst and Tarvaris Jackson be able to get the ball to Rice? That remains to be seen—despite being on the same team as Rice, Jackson seldom passed to him.
It could very well be that instead, Rice will help the quarterback when passes are thrown a bit off. Elite talents are able to do that, and the offense figures to be a lot more formidable with Sidney Rice and Mike Williams—throw in Ben Obomanu and Golden Tate, and you've got a suddenly solid receiving corps.
Overall, the Seahawks have had a very successful offseason revamping the team. Showing a commitment to replenishing the offensive line, they brought in Robert Gallery to add to rookies John Moffitt and James Carpenter.
If this line can remain healthy, the Whitehurst/Jackson to Rice connection could be torching defenses all season long.
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