Sidney Rice didn't make much of a contribution to the Seattle Seahawks' Super Bowl run, and it doesn't look like he'll be around to assist in a repeat attempt either.
The veteran wide receiver is expected to be cut this offseason to free up cap space after an ACL tear ended his 2013 season eight games in, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Media (via Mike Coppinger).
Rice is slated to make $9.7 million in 2014. By cutting him, the Seahawks can free $7.3 million in cap space, money that will be better spent trying to keep receiver Golden Tate and defensive end Michael Bennett around.
Rice has never lived up to the five-year, $41 million deal he signed with Seattle in 2011. That contract was based almost exclusively off his 1,312-yard, eight-touchdown 2009 season with the Minnesota Vikings, a production level he's never replicated. Durability has been a major factor — he's played a full 16-game schedule twice during his seven-year career — but he was unable to surpass the 1,000-yard mark even in his injury-free 2012 campaign.
Parting ways with Rice almost certainly means the Seahawks hope to re-sign Tate, the former second-round pick whose rookie contract expires this offseason. Once labeled a bust, Tate played well when forced into the starting position by the absence of Rice and Seattle's other injury-prone former Viking, Percy Harvin. Given Harvin's own durability issues, the Seahawks need a reliable No. 2 receiver able to step into the top spot when needed.
Tate said in an interview with Sports Radio 950 KJR in Seattle (h/t Pro Football Talk) that he is willing to take a hometown discount to stick with the Seahawks.
I probably shouldn't even say this right now but I'm going to say it anyway just because I love Seattle, honestly, I would rather take a little less to be happy and win ball games than to take way more and go to a crappy city where the fans don't give a crap about the team. You win a game once a month of something like that. I would much rather stay in the situation that I have now for a little less than to go and try to break the bank somewhere else.
Bennett, who could be one of the top defensive ends in free agency, is the Seahawks' top offseason priority. He had 8½ sacks in the regular season and added another 1.5 during the playoff run.
Coppinger also reports that tight end Zach Miller, who has been a disappointment since arriving from Oakland in 2011, also could end up on the chopping block.