Sidney Rice becomes a free agent this offseason, and thus becomes a possible FA target for the Seahawks.
Although it remains to be seen if the Vikings will use their franchise tag on him as well, he has the potential to be a great fit for the Hawks. If the Vikings don't Franchise him, they also have the option of Transition tagging him, which means courting teams will have to pay him a large amount over multiple years to sign him. I am still not certain what type of GM John Schnieder is, with regards to Free Agent signings, but it will definitely be interesting to find out.
At 6'4", 202lbs, he immediately sticks out as the type of receiver Pete Carroll covets. Coming out of South Carolina, he was running the 40 in the 4.5 second range, which makes him pretty fast, but not elite, compared to receivers of his size. (Compare to Randy Moss, 6'5" 210, who ran a 4.25 40 coming out of college)
In 2009, Rice caught 83 balls for 1312 yards and 8 TDs. In 2010 he was injured for most of the year but in the six games he did play in, he was moderately effective, hauling in 17 passes for 280 yards and pair of scores. I would hope this next year, depending on the system he's in and the QB he's catching passes from, he can bounce back to his '09 form. Rice's only obvious weakness has been staying healthy, so this would be a cause of concern for any team looking to sign him.
The thought of having Rice line up opposite Mike Williams is enticing. Rice has shown in the past the great ability to go up and get jump balls in the endzone, something that the Seahawks have not had the personnel to do consistently for a few years. Also, with Rice stretching the field and commanding the attention of the number one corner from each team, Williams would be able to do what he does best: running intermediate routes, catching tough balls, and getting first downs. This could open up the field for the Hawks' passing attack and make our slot receivers that much more effective.
(Whether Golden Tate improves this offseason and earns the starting job or they bring back Brandon Stokely remains to be seen. Deon Butler is still somewhere in the mix. There are a few potentially exciting young players on the Hawks practice squad that could compete for time as well this year at WR, which I'll detail in a later post.)
For me, I think it's obvious that the Hawks would want to pursue Rice. He's young, talented, and extremely athletic. Pairing him opposite of Mike Williams could cause opposing defenses matchup problems and would potentially be a two-headed monster in the redzone.
The other thing to keep in mind is that he would be reuniting with newly minted Offensive Coordinator Darrel Bevell for the Seahawks. Under Bevell, Rice has seen his stock rise and has experienced success, and may have that as a consideration as to where he signs next.