The Seahawks lost wide receiver Sidney Rice for the season Tuesday because of a torn anterior cruciate knee ligament he suffered during Monday night’s game against the St. Louis Rams.
Rice left the field in the second quarter and did not return to the game. Afterward, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said Rice hurt his head and knee during the game and said that he did not know the extent of Rice’s injuries.
After signing a five-year, $41 million deal in July of 2011, Rice’s overall production has been moderate. A Pro Bowl player in 2009, Rice had 15 catches this season for 231 yards. Last season was his best during two-plus seasons with Seattle. He made 50 catches and gained 748 yards, significant numbers in Seattle’s run-first offensive system.
Rice is scheduled to make $8.5 million in 2014. Because of that and the injury, he is unlikely to remain with the Seahawks. Rice’s salary would be a $9.7 million salary-cap hit in 2014 if he was on the roster and would be a $2.4 million cap hit if he was cut.
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The Seahawks have numerous contracts to decide on at the end of the season, including unrestricted free-agent cornerback Brandon Browner, wide receiver Golden Tate and restricted free-agent defensive lineman Michael Bennett, among others, making salary-cap space a prime concern.
Rice left Seahawks preseason camp at the beginning of August to receive treatment for patellar tendonitis in Switzerland. He did not miss any of the regular season following the treatment, but questions about his knee strength remained.
The Seahawks signed Rice to be a significant deep threat. His longest catch this season was a 31-yard touchdown against Arizona in Week 7.
Part of Rice’s lack of production this season can be attributed to his insignificant amount of opportunities. He was targeted just 35 times in eight games. Tate leads the team with 53 targets.
Rice’s best game in 2013 was during a blowout of the Jacksonville Jaguars when he made five catches for 79 yards.
He also made crucial third-down plays in the road win against the Cardinals.
With Rice done, the Seahawks begin searching for replacements. Former University of Washington and Lakes High star Jermaine Kearse is an in-house option who had been receiving increased opportunities this season.
The anticipated return of Percy Harvin would add to the Seahawks receiving corps, though he would operate from the slot.
Wide receiver Ricardo Lockette was signed to the practice squad Oct. 22.
Bryan Walters was elevated from the practice squad earlier in the season, but is also a slot receiver.