The pursuit of freeing up cap space for the Seattle Seahawks began this past weekend, as wide receiver Sidney Rice and defensive lineman Red Bryant were released.
Rice’s release does not come as a shock, since guys like Doug Baldwin and Jermaine Kearse more than stepped up when Rice tore his ACL early in the season. And now that Percy Harvin is fully healthy and Golden Tate is willing to take a discount, Rice really doesn’t have a spot on the roster, especially with such a sizable contract to his name. The move has freed up about seven million in cap for GM John Schneider.
During his three years in Seattle, Rice played just 33 games, caught 97 passes for 1,463 yards, and 12 touchdowns. His injury proneness hurt his production severely, but when he was on the field he frequently came up with big catches and was a favorite target of Russell Wilson.
Rice doesn’t deserve his $8 million a year contract (he signed a 5 year, $41 million contract in 2011) with his inability to stay on the field, and this move by Schneider is a no-brainer.
Bryant slid down the depth chart this past season and his taking up $8.5 million in salary cap was just far too large. While the 12th Man’s reaction to the release of “Big Red” has been one of great disappointment, the move makes sense from a business standpoint. His contract was too big a cap hit, even if he’s a crucial run stopper.
For those fans who especially love Bryant, there’s still a real possibility Schneider could sign him for less money later on. At the same time, other teams have to see his value as a run stopper and could offer him more money than Schneider is willing to spend. Where Bryant ends up could be a matter of how much Seattle means to him and whether he, like Tate, would be willing to sign for less money. Gauging a recent interview he gave on NFL.com, it makes me believe he would be willing to return for less.
Nevertheless, the moves have freed up around $13 million in cap for the GM, which can go toward the many re-signings he needs to make to keep this team together. While Rice definitely won’t be coming back, Bryant could only be a temporary loss. No matter where they end up, though, the 12th Man has been and will continue to be grateful to these two guys for their contributions over the last several years.
These cuts must mean a signing is coming soon, so the 12th Man should have some more uplifting news in the coming weeks.