April 16, 2014 at 8:33 PM
Well, that changed quickly, didn't it (and no, I don't mean the Mariner game I was watching as I type this).
At about 4 p.m. today there were reports that Sidney Rice was meeting with the New York Jets.
Then, within the hour, Rice himself Tweeted that he was coming back to Seattle, news that sources quickly confirmed, and that the team then acknowledged. Rice hasn't signed, which is why it's stated only that he has agreed to terms. But he obviously will sign soon.
Here's my story on Rice's agreeing to terms to come back, with the nuts and bolts of it all.
Here are three more things it means that the Seahawks are re-signing Rice, and one thing that it doesn't mean:
WHAT IT MEANS
1, The Seahawks will close-to-whole at receiver: Rice means the only receiver from last year's team that won't be back is Golden Tate, a better outcome than might have been anticipated when the free agency period began. The only somewhat unsettled situation is whether Doug Baldwin is back on a one-year tender or signs a longer-term deal. Seattle slapped a second-round tender on Baldwin. Other teams have until May 2 to offer him, and Seattle would then have until May 7th to match. What could also happen is that at some point, the team agrees to an extension with Baldwin. One way or the other, Baldwin will be back to join Rice, Percy Harvin, Jermaine Kearse, Ricardo Lockette and guys who were largely practice squadders last year such as Phil Bates and Bryan Walters.
2, The Seahawks must think Rice will be healthy for the season: As noted in the linked story, coach Pete Carroll was pretty enthusiastic in February about Rice's recovery from an ACL injury suffered Oct. 28 at St. Louis. Then came the news earlier this week that Rice had been cleared to cut. Rice is roughly five-and-a-half months into what is usually a 9-10-month recovery. Ten months would make Rice available for the start of the regular season. While setbacks can still occur, at this point the Seahawks must be pretty confident in what they have seen that Rice will be back.
3, The Seahawks will have lots of competition at receiver this year: This may seem an obvious point. But while Seattle is without Tate, every other player on the roster could be in a position to be better than a year ago. Rice, with the rehab, might be healthier than a year ago. Harvin should be ready from day one. Baldwin and Kearse are a year older and more experienced. Lockette has played some and looked readier to contribute when he did see action late in the year than during his previous Seattle stint in 2011. The team remains high on the potential of guys like Bates and Walters. And then there are the signees, each of which could be pretty underrated --- former CFL Rookie of the Year Chris Matthews and Taylor Price, a third-round pick in 2010 by the Patriots whose career has been waylaid by injuries but who if healthy might finally show why he was drafted as highly as he was.
WHAT IT DOESN'T MEAN
1, Rice's signing doesn't mean Seattle won't take a receiver in the 2014 Draft: While we've made the case above that the return of a healthy Harvin and Rice and the return of more experienced players could mean a better receiving corps in 2014, Seattle can still be expected to add a receiver in the draft. For one, it's an especially deep draft at receiver, and if Seattle simply goes best-player-available, odds are it inevitably finds a receiver at the top of its board at some point. For another, the Seahawks might still think they need to find a way to replace some of what Tate brought --- even if a healthy Harvin could fill much/most of that --- especially someone who could return punts.
April 16, 2014 at 5:26 PM
Seahawks receiver Sidney Rice has re-signed with the team, a league source confirmed to The Seattle Times on Wednesday.
Rice posted the news on his Twitter account, saying: "Aaayyyyooo 12s. SEA you in a few.. IM COMIN' HOME!"
Rice had been released by the Seahawks in February. as the team attempted to created more salary-cap room for the 2014 season. Rice had been scheduled to make $9.7 million for the 2014 season, and releasing him saved $7.3 million off the cap.
Terms of the new deal were not available, but it's believed to be at a much lower salary.
Rice earlier this week had tweeted that he had been cleared to begin cutting in workouts, a significant milestone in his recovery from a torn ACL suffered on Oct. 28 at a game in St. Louis. The 2013 season was Rice's third in Seattle after signing with the Seahawks before the 2011 season. Rice, who will be 28 next season, should be available for the start of the 2014 season if his rehabilitation continues as scheduled.
Rice visited the New York Jets this week, according to ESPN.
April 16, 2014 at 3:42 PM
Receiver Sidney Rice, who earlier this week Tweeted that he had been cleared to begin cutting again in his rehab from an ACL injury suffered last Oct. 28, is visiting the New York Jets today, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter:
Sources have also said that Seattle has remained interested in re-signing Rice at a reduced salary after it cut him in late February --- releasing Rice saved the Seahawks roughly $7.3 million against the cap in 2014.
But with Rice now appearing on the road to recovery, other teams are also showing some interest, and it's unclear how much of a bidding war the Seahawks would be willing to wager to re-sign Rice --- Seattle has obviously been about as conservative as can be so far in free agency while saving up money to re-sign the likes of Earl Thomas, Richard Sherman and Russell Wilson over the next year.
The Jets have been avidly pursuing receivers throughout free agency, and they won't have to do much research on Rice, with former Seahawk VP of Football Administration John Idzik now serving as the general manager of the Jets.
That relationship had one Jets beat writer Tweeting today that a deal with Rice would be quickly in the offing:
Rice turns 28 on Sept. 1. He caught 97 passes for 1,463 yards in three seasons in Seattle in which he played just 33 of a possible 48 regular-season games.
April 16, 2014 at 3:26 PM
We'll continue our countdown of the top draft picks in Seahawks history with one of the heroes of the run to the Super Bowl XLVIII title, cornerback Byron Maxwell, pictured above in a Bettina Hansen photo after the win over the Broncos.
CORNERBACK BYRON MAXWELL
WHEN DRAFTED: 2011, 6th round, 173rd overall
SEAHAWKS CAREER: 2011-present
WHY HE'S ON THE LIST: Someday Maxwell might be a lot higher on this list if he continues on the path he began last season, when he emerged from backup to starter of the last eight games, including all three in the Super Bowl.
His rapid progress was one reason the Seahawks felt comfortable in letting Brandon Browner and Walter Thurmond leave in free agency, and also why Antoine Winfield retired before last season began.
Maxwell was part of a 2011 Draft that figures to go down as one of the best in Seattle history, also yielding Richard Sherman, K.J. Wright and Malcolm Smith, along with OLs James Carpenter and, well, John Moffitt, all of whom became starters at some point in their Seahawk careers --- and all but Moffitt still with the team.
Maxwell played regularly throughout his Clemson career, but due in part to a deep secondary he started only eight games, one reason he was consigned to being a late-round pick. There were also questions about whether he might be a better fit as a safety than as a corner.
Having just drafted Sherman, though, the Seahawks thought Maxwell's size and physicality was worth taking a flyer on.
Here's what GM John Schneider said about Maxwell on draft day:
"Byron Maxwell, another big physical corner that’s a very good special teams player. Real strong, last guy out of the weight room, last guy off the field, that sort of things. The strength coach really liked this guy at Clemson, and we’re excited to have him.''
And here's what coach Pete Carroll said about Sherman and Maxwell on draft day in 2011:
"It’s interesting that we were able to get two big corners, along with Richard, Byron [Maxwell] is a big stud corner that makes hits and tackles and plays very well at the line of scrimmage. Both of these two guys are press corners. We think that that’s really going to help us and add to the competitiveness of it.''
Maxwell, recall, actually jumped out ahead of Sherman on the Seattle depth chart in 2011 before a bout with pneumonia and other injuries relegated him to just nine games. When he returned in 2012, Sherman and Browner had won the starting jobs and Maxwell was again limited to nine games.
But finally healthy last year, he played in every game, and when Browner and Thurmond were hurt/suspended late in the year, Maxwell jumped in and grabbed a starting role, starring in the Super Bowl as the Seahawks routed the Broncos, forcing a fumble recovered by Smith that helped seal things late.
He's among a big group of players who can be free agents following the 2014 season, and another big season figures to make him a highly-valued commodity. For now, he stands as one of the keys to the team's efforts to repeat in 2014 and a player whose emergence stamps him as another of the late-round gems of the Carroll/Schneider era, and one of the best in Seattle history.
April 16, 2014 at 1:56 PM
Seahawks fans may have moved on from the loss of receiver Golden Tate, who signed as a free agent with the Detroit Lions last month.
But for anyone who wants some more insight into Tate's thoughts on leaving Seattle and signing with the Lions, here you go, as he was a guest today on SiriusXM NFL Radio.
Most of the conversation is about how Tate thinks he will fit in with the Lions.
But Tate also addresses his thoughts on not being able to stay with the Seahawks as they try to defend a Super Bowl title in 2014.
Tate said it is "definitely disappointing'' he couldn't stay with the Seahawks but that "at the same time, I understand this is business. ... in a perfect world we would have kept every single free agent. But with the cap numbers I guess they couldn't afford it and that's what happens. ... I had to do what was best for my career and my family and that's what I did.''
Tate said that Seattle "will always have a place in my heart. But that being said, I had to make a judgement call. And I don't think I made the wrong call.''
April 16, 2014 at 10:26 AM
We'll start today with a few updated mock drafts:
--- First, here's the latest mock draft from Pete Prisco of CBSSports.com, who offers an intriguing option ---- receiver Marqise Lee of USC. Writes Prisco: "Pete Carroll knows those USC kids and Lee would be a big help to the offense.'' My quick thought is that Lee seems pretty similar to Percy Harvin, and that if Seattle were to go receiver early in the draft it might make more sense to go for a bigger one. But then Lee might also project as the perfect replacement for Golden Tate. And while Lee mostly handled kickoff returns at USC, he also did a few punt returns and could project there for Seattle, as well. Interestingly, Prisco had Seattle taking a big WR --- Kelvin Benjamin of Florida State --- in his mock draft last week.
--- Rob Rang also updated his mock draft this week and has Seattle taking UCLA OL Xavier Su'a-Filo at No. 32. Writes Rang: "Under head coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider, the Seahawks have pulled plenty of surprises in recent drafts but the loss of two starting left guard Paul McQuistan and right tackle Breno Giacomini in free agency could test their willingness to think outside of the box in 2014. Seattle won't reach to fill a need but if an aggressive, versatile blocker like Su'a-Filo is available, he'd make a lot of sense.'' My quick thought? Many see Su'a-Filo more as a guard than a tackle in the NFL, but he played both at UCLA and certainly would make sense to help Seattle add depth up front.
--- Pat Kirwan of CBSSports.com, who has at times suggested the Seahawks might trade out of the first round --- which would certainly make some sense --- has the Seahawks taking TE Jace Amaro in his latest mock draft. Writes Kirwan: :I believe the Seahawks like Amaro and he brings a dimension their offense really doesn't have as a flex/slot tight end who creates matchup problems. Russell Wilson will love having a 6-5 guy with 106 receptions last year roaming the middle of the field.'' My quick thought? When the dust settled on free agency, the Seahawks essentially had the same TE crew as a year ago --- basically replacing Kellen Davis with the return of the injured Anthony McCoy. But adding a potentially big-time playmaker there for the future is a logical way to think the Seahawks might go.
--- Bucky Brooks of NFL.com offered a two-round mock draft this week and has Seattle taking Virginia offensive tackle Morgan Moses in the first round and receiver Jarvis Landry of LSU in the second. Writes Brooks about Moses: "The Seahawks rolled to the world title despite playing with a patchwork offensive line. Moses addresses the void at right tackle and is a perfect fit in the 'Hawks' zone-based blocking scheme.'' Quick thought? Hard to argue any of that. Writes Brooks about Landry: "The Seahawks need a rugged receiver to handle the dirty work over the middle. Landry excelled in that role at LSU and has some Anquan Boldin-like qualities that makes him a great fit in the Seahawks' offense.'' Quick thought? Again, all makes sense, and we obviously see some trends here emerge among those looking at Seattle's draft needs --- receivers, tight ends and offensive linemen.
IN OTHER NEWS. ...
--- Here's another story on J.R. Sweezy returning to his former elementary school, and also noting he has added nearly 20 pounds in the off-season, which would theoretically put him at about 320.
--- More on Christine Michael taking an autistic girl to her high school prom.
--- Speaking of Tate, he says Detroit's offense will be a better fit for him than was Seattle's.
--- ESPN looks at some of the odds behind Seattle's attempt to repeat.
--- The latest edition of the NFL Network's ''Caught in the Draft,'' this one focusing on the 1974 draft, debuts tonight. I watched the first one and I can't recommend these enough for anyone who is a fan of NFL history.
--- Finally, Malcolm Smith is going on The Soup tonight:
April 16, 2014 at 9:29 AM
We'll get started at noon.
April 15, 2014 at 8:38 PM
It's dangerous to make too much of news that a player made a visit to a specific time in the runup to the NFL Draft.
Players make visits to numerous teams, and teams can host up to 30 players for visits (the rules regarding visits are detailed well here). So the simple math means that any player who makes a visit to a specific team still has a small chance of landing with that particular team.
As the linked piece notes, these visits are often reserved for players that teams did not meet with at things such as the Senior Bowl or the NFL Combine. So that's why you see reports of visits from players who may seem a little under-the-radar.
With all that said, I'll pass along this Tweet from Indiana WR Cody Latimer, commenting on his visit to the Seahawks' facility today.
His visit is worth nothing because it presents yet more evidence that Seattle may be interested in bolstering its receiving corps going forward, and especially with a bigger receiver --- Latimer is listed at 6-3, 215.
Latimer, who declared early for the NFL Draft, was recovering from foot surgery at the NFL Combine in late February, one reason teams are bringing him in for visits.
He opened eyes with his performance at IU's Pro Day and while generally projected to go in the fifth round or lower, but could sneak in to higher rounds. Here's the NFL.com analysis of Latimer, which not only notes his size and strength but also his basketball skills --- the Seahawks have often favored receivers who have had a basketball background.
It will be no surprise if Seattle re-signs Sidney Rice, which means the Seahawks would likely return every receiver from a year ago except for the departed Golden Tate --- and that assumes a full year of health from Percy Harvin.
Still, the one thing Seattle seems to lack on paper is larger receivers, one reason they have been thought open from the start to bringing Rice back.
Latimer would fit that bill, as would as Mike Evans of Texas A&M, Kelvin Benjamin of Florida State and Brandon Coleman of Rutgers, each listed at 6-5 or taller. Evans is unlikely to still be there at 32, but Benjamin could be and Coleman is regarded as more of a mid-round type.
But again, the list of players who have visited hardly marks the extent of players in which Seattle may be interested.
Here are a few players who have been reported to have visit, or to have scheduled visits, with the Seahawks:
--- RB Terrance West, Towson State: West is one of the more intriguing players in the draft, who left Towson early and did attend the Combine, where he was a popular topic for his interesting storyline of having no real offers out of high school. CBSSports.com rates him as a possible 3-4th-rounder, a fairly consensus opinion. West is actually writing a pre-draft diary for the Baltimore Sun, so if he does make his reported visit to the Seahawks, maybe he'll write about it. He is expected to visit Seattle this week.
--- OL Laurent Duvernay-Tardiff, McGill University: Duvernay-Tardiff, regarded as one of the top Canadian collegian players, is becoming one of the more intriguing players in the draft, posting some solid numbers at his recent Pro Day. As the linked story states: "Duvernay-Tardif ran anywhere from 4.93 to 4.98 in the 40, the numbers unofficial since they weren’t electronically timed. Nonetheless, of the 50 offensive linemen at last month’s NFL combine, only three who weighed at least 320 pounds ran the 40 in under 5.2. Duvernay-Tardif did 34 reps at 225 pounds; had a vertical jump of 31.5 inches and a broad jump of 9.6 feet.''
---FB Nikita Whitlock, Wake Forest: Updating from the first version of this to add Whitlock, who we have referenced on the blog before. Whitlock was a nose tackle at Wake who is being looked at by NFL teams as a fullback (feature story here with details). Whitlock is generally regarded as a late-round pick at best, more likely a free agent.
--- LB Jordan Tripp, Montana: Tripp projects as a late-rounder who could help immediately on special teams.
--- LB Brock Coyle, Montana: Coyle is regarded as one of the fastest risers in the draft, morphing from a player who would certainly have to wait to sign as a free agent to a possible late-round pick.
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