In a widely anticipated move, the Seahawks will release WR Sidney Rice, perhaps as soon as Friday, according to ESPN.com. Team officials at the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis said Friday morning nothing has happened yet.
Rice, a seven-year veteran, last season played only eight games and made 15 catches before being lost for the year after tearing his ACL at St. Louis Oct. 28. He was due $17.5 million in base salary over the final two years of a five-year, $41 million contract he signed in July 2011. He would have counted $7.3 million against the salary cap in 2014.
Rice, 27, becomes the first regular player to be trimmed from the roster of the Super Bowl champions. In his first season after being signed away from Minnesota, he played only nine games because of shoulder problems and a concussion. He had his best year in Seattle in 2012, catching 50 passes for 738 yards and seven touchdowns as the biggest (6-foot-4) target for rookie QB Russell Wilson.
A second-round draftee by Minnesota in 2007 out of South Carolina, Rice made the Pro Bowl after the 2009 season in which he had 1,312 reception yards. But health problems limited his career much of the the rest of the way.
The Seahawks anticipate another former Vikings receiver, Percy Harvin, to pick up some of the receiving slack but likely will be looking for another tall, veteran receiver in free agency, or seek out a young pass-catcher in the draft. Earlier in the week they signed Chris Matthews, 24, from the Canadian Football League’s Winnipeg team.