NFL free agent rumors now say that the St. Louis Rams are one of a handful of teams pursuing Vikings free agent WR Sidney Rice. Experts previously named the Seahawks and the Vikings as the two most interested in Rice. Just how far will the Rams pursue the premier free agent wide receiver?
ESPN's John Clayton revealed on Sports Center moments ago that the Rams were one of the teams chasing Rice. It makes sense for the Rams to add a true No. 1 receiver for Bradford, and it would probably be enough to make them the early favorites to win the division. It also makes those first eight game more winnable. The Rams failed to score many points last year, and if they're going to be serious competitors, they have to score more than 18 points per game.
Be advised that this does not mean the Rams will sign Rice. Not at all. In fact, in could be a tool to drive up his price for the Seahawks...maybe enough to shake Brandon Mebane loose by forcing them to spend all their money on Rice. That's almost more Machiavellian than I can imagine though...and not a guarantee to work. Just talk.
Earlier this offseason there were reports that the Rams had interest in Rice, so this isn't out of left field.
To really get your hopes up, check out this scouting report from Doug Farrar.
At his best, Rice presents a skill set not far off from what Larry Fitzgerald(notes) offers a team - he's a legitimate number-one receiver in any system, and his lack of elite top-end speed is more than mitigated by the ways in which he dominates coverage and forces coverage breakdowns. Sidney Rice will make a lot of money in free agency, and if he's healthy, he'll be worth the high price.