The NFL lockout prevented the Seattle Seahawks from wheeling and dealing the way they did during Pete Carroll's first season with the team.
RiceCarroll and general manager John Schneider are making up for lost time.
Their five-year agreement with Minnesota Vikings receiver Sidney Rice caps a long-running push to secure front-line talent at the position. The physical examination Rice must pass will be important given the hip troubles Rice has endured in recent seasons. But once Rice clears that hurdle, Seattle will have daunting size at wideout.
The 6-foot-5 Mike Williams blossomed with Seattle last season, realizing some of the potential that made him a top-10 draft choice in Detroit. Rice stands 6-4 and remains a youngster at age 24. A second-round choice in 2007, he caught 83 passes for 1,312 yards and eight touchdowns with Brett Favre throwing passes to him in 2009. Rice missed most of the 2010 season, finishing with 17 catches for 280 yards. Before adding Rice, Seattle had already added size at receiver by using a 2011 fourth-round choice for Kris Durham, who stands 6-5 and could provide insurance for Williams.
Carroll is clearly putting his stamp on the Seahawks. He's made the team bigger at receiver while beefing up the offensive line in an effort to improve the ground game. Subtracting veteran quarterback Matt Hasselbeck from the equation makes the Seahawks appear even more likely to emphasize the run in 2011. Williams and Rice will give quarterbacks Tarvaris Jackson and Charlie Whitehurst huge targets when Seattle does decide to throw the ball.
Rice and Jackson come to Seattle well-versed in the passing game coordinator Darrell Bevell is bringing with him from Minnesota. That familiarity has appeal for the Seahawks after the lockout prevented teams from meeting with players. Such short-term benefits should not overshadow the long-term goals these moves reflect. Carroll and Schneider pursued a trade for receiver Brandon Marshall last offseason. They considered acquiring the 6-5 Vincent Jackson from San Diego. Rice fills the void.