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Updated: July 27th, 2011 6:52pm
Sidney Rice agrees to 5-year, $41 million deal with Seahawks

Sidney Rice agrees to 5-year, $41 million deal with Seahawks

by Tom Pelissero
1500ESPN.com
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EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- In the end, the Seattle Seahawks decided it wasn't worth waiting to examine Sidney Rice's surgically repaired hip in person.

An NFL source confirmed Rice agreed to a five-year contract with the Seahawks on Wednesday afternoon. Several reports said the deal is worth $41 million, including $18.5 million guaranteed, with incentives that could push the total value as high as $44 million.

The deal surely is pending a physical that can't be conducted until Friday, when free-agent visits, physicals and signings can be conducted beginning at 5 p.m.

Barring a health-related snag, this ends Rice's four-year tenure with the Minnesota Vikings, who badly wanted to re-sign the 24-year-old receiver but apparently weren't willing to risk that sort of money on a player with a long injury history and only one highly productive season.

Rice's contract came on a wild day of spending in the NFL that included the New York Jets giving Santonio Holmes $24 million guaranteed -- though to be a record for a receiver -- on a five-year, $50 million deal.

In Seattle, Rice will be reunited with former Vikings offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell and quarterback Tarvaris Jackson, who signed a two-year, $8 million deal with the Seahawks on Tuesday.

Not even the Vikings' pending acquisition of quarterback Donovan McNabb from the Washington Redskins could sway Rice to stick around. Instead, he'll try to rebound from his injury-derailed season with the Seahawks, under a contract that allows him to hit the open market again before age 30.

Rice had 93 receptions for 1,496 yards and 12 touchdowns in 2009 (including playoffs). But a hip injury suffered in the NFC championship game led to surgery seven months later amid rumblings about Rice's disatisfaction with his contract.

The Vikings chose to place the franchise tag on linebacker Chad Greenway in February and offered Rice only a one-year restricted tender worth a little more than $3 million at the NFL scouting combine, prompting agent Drew Rosenhaus to proclaim his client intends to test the open market.

Now, they're left with a receiver group that includes dynamic slot man Percy Harvin but few options on the outside, with Bernard Berrian -- another Rosenhaus client -- still a possible cap casualty and a long list of relatively unproven players behind them.

Lance Moore agreed to re-sign with the New Orleans Saints on Wednesday and Steve Breaston, the former Arizona Cardinals receiver, agreed to a five-year deal with the Kansas City Chiefs around the same time Rice's deal was revealed.

Holmes' deal likely means the Jets will let Braylon Edwards go, making him perhaps the best available alternative in a thinned free-agent group that now includes Steve Smith, Mike Sims-Walker, Malcom Floyd and James Jones.

Tom Pelissero is Senior Editor and columnist for 1500ESPN.com. He hosts from 6 to 8 p.m. weeknights and co-hosts from 10 a.m. to noon Sundays on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
Email Tom | @TomPelissero | Tom Pelissero
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