It’s not news that came out of nowhere, but it is now official — the Seahawks will release Sidney Rice, per ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter:
Seahawks are releasing WR Sidney Rice, per league source. Rice signed a five-year, $41 million contract in July 2011.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) February 21, 2014
Rice hadn’t played with the Seahawks since Oct. 28 after tearing his ACL. Prior to the injury, he recorded 15 catches for 231 yards and three touchdowns in the 2013 season.
The Seahawks picked up Rice in 2011 and agreed to a five-year, $41 million contract with the former Minnesota Vikings wideout.
After a tough first year with the Seahawks — in which he only played nine games — Rice turned things around in 2012. He played in all 16 regular season games and recorded 50 catches for 748 yards and seven touchdowns. While the production was decent, it didn’t live up to what the Seahawks expected.
After his injury in 2013, speculation began that he would be cut at the end of the season.
With the emergence of Jermaine Kearse and Doug Baldwin, and with a healthy Percy Harvin expected in 2014, releasing Rice came as no surprise to most who follow the organization.
The move will help the Seahawks clear $7 million in cap space which they could use to help some of the other areas of the team.
Rice is still due due $17.5 million in base salary over the next two seasons, according to ESPN.com’s Terry Blount.