Sometimes when you’re a struggling team, you have to pay more than face value for a player you want to acquire. Money talks. Look at the Seattle Mariners, for example. They went out and managed to nab Robinson Cano for 10 years/$240 million. Along with feeling disgruntled with how the Yankees treated him and handled it, the Mariners understood that to get him they were going to have to pony up some cash, and they believe he is going to be worth it. The Seahawks similarly signed Rice, Miller, and Flynn to fairly substantial deals. Seattle was willing to pay a good sum of money for receiving options they lacked, and the franchise quarterback they lacked. Fast forward to the present, and the Seahawks have just departed Seattle for Super Bowl XLVIII.
Sidney Rice was a player who had flashed potential but had not put it together until 2009, when Brett Favre arrived in Minnesota. In that year, Rice put up gaudy numbers in the form of 83 receptions on 122 targets, 1,312 yards, and eight touchdowns. Since then, he has shown that ability but has also been very injury prone and fragile. In three seasons with the Seahawks, he has averaged 11 games per season, 32 receptions, and 487 yards. Rice’s averages change to. In 2012 his DVOA was ranked seventh in the league, and his DYAR was ranked 14th in the league. His catch percentage was 62%, which is very good. Sidney Rice was a very big upgrade from the undersized Deon Butler, and easily the best option available. To me, Sidney Rice was very much worth the 5 year/$41M contract he was awarded. In 2014 he is slated to make $8.5M and $9M in 2015. With a cap hit of $9.7M and $10.2M, there's absolutely no way he sticks around without restructuring. Would I make the deal again? Probably. He gave Jackson and Wilson both a 6'4 target with a large catch radius that was especially essential after Mike Williams lost his effectiveness. If he can come back from his injury, he could possibly become an asset again. Rice is only 27, so it is very trivial as to what he has left in him. He has a good tendency to drop to the ground to avoid hits, but at the same time he seems to always fall to the ground like a ragdoll and takes big hits somewhat often.
Matt Flynn was signed to a three year deal with the Seahawks for $20.5M, $9M of that being guaranteed. The Seahawks were lauded for being patient and waiting out the market. Russell Wilson was drafted in the 3rd round and we all know how that went. We were able to trade Flynn and his contract to the Raiders and acquire a couple picks, so I believe it was a success. If I could do it all over again, I absolutely would. You had your starter in Tarvaris Jackson, a backup with a couple extremely good games (which he played out of his ass in), and a young undersized quarterback in Russell Wilson that put up extremely good numbers at both NC State and Wisconsin. Lots of question marks. At the time I originally wanted Flynn to start and have Wilson sit and watch a year, but what took place I would have never guessed. I was unaware of how diligent Wilson was, and I also didn’t understand how willing we’d be to pay Flynn to sit on the bench. To me this signing was a success. Plus, Flynn won us the overtime coin toss in Chicago. Clutch!
Zach Miller signed with the Seahawks on a 5 year/$34M deal with $17M guaranteed. Not at all far off from what Sidney Rice was given. Miller has been efficient, and statistically has suffered from staying in as a blocker (more so early on). While his numbers may not be overwhelming, he has been a good blocker, caught a good percentage of balls thrown his way, and has been a security blanket for Jackson and Wilson in games. Most notably in the playoffs last year against the Redskins and against the Falcons. Without Miller, our tight end options would be very suspect. Off the group of my head, our options would most likely be Sean McGrath, injured Anthony McCoy, Cameron Morrah, or we could even still have goddamn John Carlson. Ideally, we'd have found another option had we not acquired Miller. 2013 is his highest cap hit of the entirety of his contract with a cap hit of $11M. He may be deemed expendable after this year as he has a cap hit of $7M in 2014, with only $2M in dead money. In the last year of his contract, his cap hit is $6M with $1M in dead money. If we can find a replacement in the draft, we may roll with said player and Luke Willson.
Hindsight is... 20/20?
Opinions on this may differ, but all of these acquisitions have been great ideas at the time, and I personally wouldn't take any of them back. Sidney Rice hasn't been the consistent #1 option we had envisioned, but he has been a very good wide receiver and 2012 was a great year for him and Russell Wilson. Matt Flynn may not have become our franchise quarterback, but he did take part in the training camp battle, and we didn't know Russell would blow up like he did. Zach Miller hasn't been Rob Gronkowski, but he has been a very viable option at tight end and he has no big holes in his game. He wasn't utilized properly in the early going because of various problems, and even now I think he could be used better. John Schneider and Co. have been great about giving players contracts in which they have to prove themselves. In virtually every contract, they leave an escape plan for themselves. They understand how to take a loss when they need to and swallow their pride, and that is one of the many great things about John Schneider and Pete Carroll.