By Brady Henderson
Sidney Rice's career with the Seahawks is apparently coming to its predictable conclusion.
ESPN's Adam Schefter reported Friday morning that Seattle is releasing Rice, and the receiver all but confirmed that hours later with an apparent goodbye.
Sidney Rice caught 97 passes for 1,463 yards and 12 touchdowns during three injury-plagued seasons with Seattle. (AP)
The Seahawks have not made any announcement nor was any move listed on the league's official transaction report as of Friday afternoon, but Rice's reported release is no surprise given his hefty contract and inability to stay on the field.
Rice, 27, was scheduled to make $8.5 million in base salary in 2014 – the fourth year of a five-year, $41 million deal he signed before the 2011 season – which the Seahawks apparently deemed prohibitive for a player who has missed 15 regular-season games since coming to Seattle.
When he signed with the Seahawks, Rice was coming off a 2010 season in which he played only six games after undergoing hip surgery, and the injuries continued to pile up.
He missed seven games in 2011, first sidelined with a shoulder injury before dealing with knee issues and then sustaining a pair of concussions that ended his season early. He led Seattle in receiving in 2012 while playing in all 16 games for just the second time in his career, but his 2013 season ended after eight games due to a torn ACL.
Parting ways with Rice could clear up as much as $7.3 million of salary-cap space for 2014, which Seattle can use toward a roster that is getting increasingly expensive with several substantial bills about to come due. Wide receiver might be the position that best exemplifies that as Percy Harvin is playing under the richest contract in franchise history while starters Golden Tate and Doug Baldwin just finished the ends of their rookie deals.
That made it a virtual certainty that Rice would not be back with Seattle under the terms of his current deal. The only question was whether he would take a pay cut or be released outright. And while the sides have parted ways, it wouldn't be out of the question for Rice to return on a significantly reduced contract. He has expressed on more than one occasion how much he enjoyed playing for Seattle, and at 6-foot-4 he has size that the Seahawks' receiver corps otherwise lacks outside of new addition Chris Matthews.
For now, though, his time in Seattle seems to have reached its anticipated end.
Follow Brady Henderson on Twitter @BradyHenderson.