Is Sidney Rice Worth His $41 Million Contract?

By Matt Kosek
July 30, 2011 11:37 pm
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The Seattle Seahawks made headlines on Thursday by signing Sidney Rice to a five-year, $41 million contract, with $18.5 million guaranteed.

It seems like it’s a good time to be a free agent receiver in the NFL. Rice got his big deal just one day after the Jets inked receiver Santonio Holmes to a five-year, $50 million contract.

But is Rice really worth the money, or is this an example of the Seahawks putting all their eggs in one basket? In an overloaded free agency market, perhaps they decided to just throw as much money at Rice as possible knowing that Seattle wasn’t exactly #1 on anyone's list of top teams they’d like to sign with.

Sidney Rice got the money he wanted, but don’t be surprised if he doesn’t live up to the Seahawks’ expectations.

In four NFL seasons, Rice has only one year that is worth mentioning: His 2009 campaign in which he had 83 receptions, 1,312 yards, and 8 touchdowns. He also had four games of over 100 receiving yards after never recording a single 100+ game in his first two seasons.

Numbers can be deceiving though. What a lot of people don’t remember is that Rice was the beneficiary of one of the best years of Brett Favre’s career. The guy was playing out of his mind. And his favorite target that year? You guessed it; Sidney Rice.

Rice’s stats were simply a byproduct of the greatest quarterback in NFL history having one more remarkable run before he finally called it quits two years later (although with Favre, who the hell knows is he’ll actually stay retired) . The only way Tavaris Jackson will ever even be mentioned in the same sentence as Favre is if people are talking about how he used to be his backup in Minnesota.

Did someone forget to mention that to Rice? Did it ever occur to him that maybe the main reason the Vikings pursued Favre with such aggression was because Jackson isn’t good enough to start for an NFL team?

Who is even making these awful calls for the Seahawks anyways? I got it! Let’s get rid of our franchise quarterback and the only guy who has ever gotten us to the Super Bowl. Then, let’s give all of our money to a receiver who just came off a hip surgery that caused him to miss most of last season! It’s a fail-proof plan!

When your team’s battle for the starting QB spot comes down to Tavaris Jackson and Charlie Whitehurst, you might as well call the season a wash because you’re going to get picked apart by any team who has anything close to resembling a pass defense. Rice is going to have a hard time getting open when every every defensive back is zeroing in on him. And, on top of all that, the Seahawks have a reputation for being the black hole, where receivers go and eventually disappear off the face of the Earth (see: T.J Houshmandzadeh and Deion Branch).

Only time will tell if Rice suffers the same fate. The only good news for Rice is that he’ll be playing in the worst division in all of football, a division where a 7-9 record is good enough to get you into the postseason. Perhaps the Seahawks can recapture the magic of last season, squeak out seven wins, and then once again pull off a monumental upset in the first round against a far superior opponent. I highly doubt it though.

In every offseason, there are those that go to a team because they want to win and those that go to a team because they want to get paid. Sidney Rice clearly picked the latter.
  

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By Matt Kosek
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