To start off, I use an asterisk in the title because the Seahawks' signings of Sidney Rice, Robert Gallery, and others aren't actually signings yet at this point - 'agreements in principal on terms' is a more apt way to put it but barring unforeseen circumstances, the deals will be completed on Friday. Anyway.
The Seahawks made a pretty big splash in free agency on Wednesday, agreeing to terms to LG Robert Gallery and WR Sidney Rice; they also agreed to terms with their own free agent LB Matt McCoy and rookie draft picks DE Lazarius Levingston and Mark LeGree. With the departure of K Olindo Mare to richer pastures in Carolina, the Seahawks also signed undrafted free agent kicker Wes Byrum out of Auburn.
The two big names on this list are obviously Robert Gallery and Sidney Rice. My first thought is that the Seahawks just got a lot better. Robert Gallery is as solid of a guard that that you're going to find in the NFL when he's healthy. He'll be a huge addition in the fact that he's a nasty run blocker and an adequate pass blocker, that paired with Russell Okung on will give the Seahawks a pretty formidable left side. Gallery is also valuable in the fact that he has the ability to almost act as a second coach to Tom Cable -- he knows Cable's expectations and schemes and can convey them to the rest of the very young and inexperienced line.
Presumptive starting center Max Unger will be able to lean on him for line-calls and diagnosing defenses until he can get up to speed on the new system, and I can only assume Gallery will act as the de facto leader of the line - something that may be valuable for a 2nd year left tackle, an (essentially) 2nd year center, a rookie right guard and a rookie right tackle.
Furthermore, just look at frickin Robert Gallery. He's seriously crazy looking. If there's one thing that you want on your line it's crazy and Gallery has that good old fashioned "I'm going to murder you" twinkle in his eye. He's got that "I'm wanted by the DEA and ATF" type look to him. When I think of Gallery I just can't get the image of Ray Jackson from Bloodsport ut of my mind.
Tatted up arms, feral mane, bedraggled beard -- he looks like the worst possible kind of guy that could start dating your mom and I love him for it. My guess is that he probably wears faded and ripped baggy jeans, WWF t-shirts with cut off sleeves, and Spalding high tops that he bought at Payless Shoes. He probably drives a 1989 Bronco. He definitely drinks Bud Heavy and has an American Flag bandanna rolled up and wrapped around his head at all times while not on the football field. This gets brought up a lot, but Jim Mora's dirtbags have arrived, just a few years too late.
He looks hungry.
In all seriousness though - I like the signing. Like I said, he'll provide a veteran, calming presence on what will most likely be a jittery line to start the season. If he can stay healthy he'll be the missing puzzle piece in the offensive line rebuild that started when Pete and John took over, and will hopefully give the Hawks some continuity in that position.
Now, Sid the Kid. Sid Vicious. El Cid. Whatever you want to call him (I like Sid Vicious myself). Sidney Rice is a big, athletic, sure handed and talented wide receiver and we've got him for five years. His best season came in 2009 when he caught 83 passes for 1,312 yards and 8TDs from Brett Favre. He was hurt for most of last season (and Brett Favre sucked ass when Rice was healthy) so he's a bit of a one year wonder but that doesn't mean I don't have high hopes for the guy. He's not necessarily a speed threat but can get deep if given time to gain some separation. Like Thomas noted in his piece on Rice earlier, his upside is a super-possession receiver in the mold of Larry Fitzgerald.
He'll catch everything that comes into his vicinity. He's like a high-end vacuum - call his The Dyson -- he never loses suction. Ok that doesn't really work and/or is gross. I digress. If the Seahawks QB ranks stay essentially how they are currently, Rice's ability to go up, high-point, and bring down passes is going to be very helpful -- he's 6'4, 202 pounds and has elite body control and ability to track the ball - so look for Big Balls Pete to throw it up to him.
What Sidney Rice brings, in theory, is an ability to stretch the field opposite Big Mike Williams, and gives BMW the role he needs, in my opinion -- that of a possession guy that can use his physicality and size to move the chains and dominate the opposing corners. I saw a description in an earlier commentary, and stand up and be recognized if I'm quoting you, but someone said something along the lines that Rice is that "go up and pluck it" type receiver and Williams is a "reach out and snatch it" type guy. Either way, the Seahawks just got a lot more dangerous and dynamic.
If you're critical of this move then really the one defense I have for it is this: the Seahawks lack playmakers - a go-to guy. Williams has the potential to be a play maker but hasn't gotten there yet. Golden Tate has potential to be a play maker but hasn't gotten there yet. Sidney Rice is a guy that -- and I'm going to use a basketball analogy here -- he's a guy that you want taking the last shot in a game. He has that ability to come down with passes that a normal receiver just won't catch on a regular basis.
How many times have we seen crucial third and fourth down plays go for incompletions off of receivers hands in the past few years? I'm not saying Rice will never drop a pass - but he's got a good track record of coming up with nigh-impossible grabs and making jaw-dropping plays. That's what he brings to this Seahawks team.
Ok, moving on to other moves. The Hawks also re-signed their veteran linebacker Matt McCoy. McCoy is a special teams stalwart and if he makes the roster will most likely be the veteran leader on that squad. He'll have competition from young bucks Michael Morgan, Malcolm Smith, Anthony Heygood, Joe Pawelek, and possibly even one of the seemingly dozens of new safety/linebacker tweener types we've signed in the last year. I'm pretty indifferent on the McCoy signing but they must think highly enough of him to bring him back so I'm open to it.
The Hawks also signed UDFA K Wes Byrum, which we addressed earlier. He's a solid, clutch kicker out of Auburn and will fight for the starting job in camp. My guess is that we'll sign a veteran and bring in another UDFA or two to compete.
Finally, -- Lazarius Levingston and Mark LeGree are the first two Seahawks' draft picks to sign (per Levingston's agent and Curtis Crabtree. Not a big surprise here, but welcome news nonetheless. Look for the rest of the picks to sign in the next few days.