Seattle's big free-agent acquisition in 2011 was limited to just nine games, 32 catches and two touchdowns because of shoulder and concussion issues. He had surgery on both shoulders in the off-season and in August practiced for the first time in nine months, albeit wearing the hands-off red jersey.
If the Seahawks are to have an established downfield threat—something they lacked last year, as evidenced by their six touchdown catches of 20-plus yards, 14 fewer than NFL leader Green Bay—then Rice needs to step up. Golden Tate isn't the man for the job (career average: 10.9 yards per catch). The team signed veterans Braylon Edwards and Terrell Owens over the summer, and Pete Carroll envisioned both of them making the squad. But reality struck when Owens was released, likely leaving a roster spot for Edwards, who's younger and had fared better against press coverage in practice.
Even if he makes the team, Edwards will defer to Rice, whose track record (more than 15 yards per catch in each of the past three seasons) and size (at 6'4", he's six inches taller than Tate) make him the deep man Seattle lacked last season.