To see the full list of the 30 most important Seahawks in 2013, click here.
Like it or not, we’re nearing the end of the Sidney Rice era in Seattle. He’s making $9.7 million this year. If we were to cut him before the season, he would count a whopping $3.6 million against our cap. And, look, I can’t guarantee that he ISN’T one of our cap casualties going into the regular season. The way Stephen Williams is playing, he looks like the real deal right now. Jermaine Kearse has taken a HUGE step up. Golden Tate is still on his rookie deal, so he’s not costing us a whole lot. Plus, Tate is poised to make a jump into the near-elite catagory of receivers, so you’d like to see what he’s capable of before making a long-term decision on him.
Sidney Rice, by contrast, is a very known quantity. He does have issues with injuries, which may mean that he misses games, or it might just mean the team holds him out of regular practices throughout the season in an attempt to keep him upright for the full 16.
However, I will say this: Softy mentioned this the other day and I wholeheartedly agree: this is NOT the year you fuck around with the team. We’re not in terrible shape cap-wise. At least, we’re not over. You could make the argument that it’s important to save as much money as we can to compensate for these contract extensions we’re going to have to do in the next couple years, as teams are able to carry this money over. But 2013 is special. Just because you CAN cut guys like Sidney Rice, Michael Robinson, and so on; doesn’t mean you SHOULD.
Yes, Stephen Williams looks great, but he’s never looked great in the regular season. So, do you want to roll the dice with him? Or, would you rather play the guy you KNOW is great. And, make no mistake, Sidney Rice is still great. He catches some balls that no man on this team is capable of catching. He’s a proven threat that defenses have to game-plan around. If you double him, then Golden Tate is in a more favorable matchup. If you double Tate, then you’ve got Rice one-on-one. Or, if you lock down both of these guys with your best corners, then we’ve got other options to pick up the slack.
This wide receiver unit is as stacked as it has ever been, and Sidney Rice is a big part of that. None of these guys are those elite #1 receivers everyone wants. But, many of these guys are some of the best #2’s you’ll ever see. That’s just as good, in my book.
Of course, going forward, you have to wonder about how much longer the team is able to keep Rice. Next season, Rice is set to earn another $9.7 million; but his dead cap money will only be $2.4 million. At that point, with guys like Earl Thomas, Richard Sherman, and Russell Wilson lining up for their paydays, I think you have to consider cutting ties with Rice and seeing if Stephen Williams is able to go that extra mile.
But, for now, we ride this out as long as he’ll take us. Sidney Rice is a very valuable and important weapon on this offense. The longer we can keep him healthy, the better our odds are for a long and enjoyable season.