Because it’s just time to give the Mariners a rest.
I like this move and I don’t like this move. I’m, like, 70/30 in favor of this move, where that 30% comprises what I like to call The Guti Concern. It’s like that thing where you bring in a guy on a reasonable one-year deal, and there’s enough upside to make it worth your while (because if he stays healthy, he could be a big impact for your offense), while at the same time enough wiggle room to simply cut him with little-to-no impact on your team’s salary, but the downside remains: you’re devoting a roster spot to a guy who hasn’t proven he’s capable of staying healthy. And that’s the rub. That roster spot.
The Seahawks maintain one of the deepest teams in the National Football League. Every August is a harrowing death march as the team whittles down its roster from 90 to 75 to 53. And, every August, the Jacksonville Jaguars of the world pick up our table scraps, because they know that our 54th, 55th, and 56th guys – who JUST missed the cut – are better than most teams’ 45th, 46th, and 47th-best players. By keeping Sidney Rice (assuming he IS healthy, or at least healthy enough to look good through the pre-season), we’re likely cutting a different guy who would have replaced him. And, by keeping Sidney Rice, it’s only a matter of time before he’s lost for the season, and now we’ve lost him AND the guy we cut in order to keep him.
Or, worse, Rice isn’t necessarily lost for the season, but nagging injuries that allow him to still play prevent him from being as explosive as he’d normally be.
Either way, as I said before, it’s a minor quibble. Mostly because this is a pretty smart group of guys running the organization (and coaching up these players). The anti-Mariners, if you will. I trust that they’ll be able to discern well enough through all the off-season and pre-season practices and games whether or not Sidney Rice is worth keeping around. I also trust that they’ll still be looking in the draft for a “Sidney Rice Of The Future”. My guess: we draft two receivers at a minimum and probably go hard after the undrafted rookies to really open things up going forward. Maybe the next Sidney Rice is out there just hoping a team selects him next month (by that, I mean a tall, athletic receiver who’s a beast in the red zone). Who knows, maybe the next Doug Baldwin is out there as well (you know, in the event that we’re not able to extend him long term for whatever reason).
Ideally, Sidney Rice will make the team, stay healthy all year, and be among the team leaders in catches and touchdowns. Realistically, however, I’ll settle for what we got out of him last year: half a season’s worth of contributions, with – again – some solid work in the red zone catching TDs. I figure, by that point, whatever rookie replacement who won the battle royale in the pre-season against all the other rookies and young guys (who likely won’t play all that much in the early going anyway), should be ready to step up and assume a larger role in the offense.
The Seahawks don’t have a problem at receiver. That’s something that people should probably realize. We’ve got Percy Harvin and Doug Baldwin who have more than proven themselves at this level. We’ve also got Jermaine Kearse who has REALLY made strides the last two seasons. Those are your top three guys, right there, all capable of carrying the load at receiver. Yes, you’d always like to have Golden Tate, but let’s face it, he’s gone and he’s never coming back. Consider Percy Harvin your Golden Tate replacement and move on with your lives.
Throw Sidney Rice into that mix – even if he’s only healthy for a handful of games before going on the IR – and you’ve got something even better.
What this team needs to focus on now is: depth at receiver. Those fifth and sixth receiver spots on the team. Guys who can play special teams and eventually come to replace our current starters. Namely: Sidney Rice. You gotta figure this is the last year he’ll be with us. We could REALLY use someone who will be ready to play regularly in 2015. Ideally, someone better than Ricardo Lockette.
And, not for nothing, but I can’t imagine Jermaine Kearse getting a big, fat contract extension when HIS contract runs out either. One would hope we could find a couple of receivers in this draft class if for nothing else than to preserve our stable cap situation in 2015 and beyond.