Sidney Rice’s season-ending ACL injury most likely closes another chapter in the ever-expanding tome of the Seahawks’ big-ticket receiver busts.
Rice probably has played his last game for the Hawks, who were not likely to pay him $8.5 million next season even if healthy. His unfortunate knee injury surely is the nail in the coffin — and makes him the third high-priced receiver to fail to deliver for Seattle over the last few years.
Rice, T.J. Houshmandzadeh and Deion Branch have cost the Seahawks $66 million since 2006.
And that doesn’t even count Percy Harvin’s $67 million deal, which could easily join those others to create a golden sombrero of receiver strikeouts.
No matter who has been in charge the last seven years, the Seahawks have tossed tons of cash at big-money wide receivers — and that’s about the only thing they have caught.
Tim Ruskell acquired Branch from New England in September 2006 for a 2007 first-round pick and signed him to a six-year, $39 million deal. In his four-plus years in Seattle, Branch was paid about $29 million for 190 catches, 2,347 yards and 15 touchdowns. That’s over $12,000 per yard or $152,000 per reception or $1.9 million per touchdown.
Partly because Branch could not stay healthy, Ruskell signed Houshmandzadeh for five years and $40 million in 2009. When John Schneider and Pete Carroll took over in 2010, they decided to cut the maverick receiver just before the 2010 season, despite owing him $7 million guaranteed. He was paid more than $14 million for two years despite playing just one and tallying 79 receptions, 911 yards and three touchdowns.
Schneider also sent Branch back to New England during the 2010 season for a 2011 fourth-round pick.
Schneider then signed Rice to a five-year, $41 million deal in 2011. He was limited to nine games that season due to injuries. He played every game in 2012 but caught just 50 passes for 748 yards and seven touchdowns — hardly worth his $7 million salary.
In eight games this season, he caught 15 passes for 231 yards and three scores — hardly worth his $8.5 million salary.
By the end of this season, Rice will have been paid $23.5 million for 97 receptions, 1,463 yards and 12 TDs in 33 games — that’s $16,000 per yard or $242,000 per catch or $1.96 million per touchdown.
The failures of those expensive receivers did not dissuade Schneider from making yet another huge investment earlier this year.
The Hawks gave up their 2013 first- and seventh-round picks, plus their 2014 third-rounder, for the mercurial Harvin. They already have paid more than $13 million to the 25-year-old, who has yet to play a down halfway through his first season with the team.
Harvin, recovering from hip surgery, is ready to come off PUP within the next two weeks — perfect timing to succeed Rice on the roster.
The Hawks just have to hope he doesn’t also succeed Rice as the next expensive receiver bust.