Interestingly enough, a high-level club executive suggested that the Bills could be a team to keep an eye on in regards to Rice, given that HC Rex Ryan really likes him from their time together in Baltimore.
“I think I’m in the minority on this, but I think he plays this year,” Banks’ source said. “But it’ll have to be for a really strong front office organization. Seattle, Green Bay, Dallas, situations like that. I’m a little bit surprised that it has taken this long for someone to sign him. Buffalo could be another team to watch with Rice. They don’t have a need at running back right now, but I’m told Rex Ryan thinks the world of him from their time together in Baltimore [in 2008]. He loves him. He doesn’t like him. He loves him.”
The obvious problem with the Bills signings Rice is that they have a number of running backs on their roster and even traded for LeSean McCoy this offseason. It would probably take an injury for them to consider signing another running back at this point, and that’s even setting aside the concerns regarding his previous domestic violence incident.
Executives mentioned a number of teams that could make sense for Rice, but the fact of the matter is that NFL teams are becoming more and more reluctant to give players a second chance. The recent issues involving veteran DL Ray McDonald only decrease the odds of a team taking a shot on a player like Rice, even in a situation where they could really use running back help.
Other teams brought up as landing spots that would make sense for Rice include: the Cardinals, Seahawks, Raiders, Packers, Patriots, Cowboys, Chiefs, and Dolphins.
Of these teams, the Cowboys look like the best fit given that they have a solid offensive line and questionable depth at the position. However, they brought in some free agent running backs last week and Rice wasn’t among this group, which is a pretty good sign he’s not on their roster.
Rice, 28, last appeared in an NFL game back in 2013 when he ran for 660 yards on 214 carries (3.1 YPC) to go along with 58 receptions for 321 yards receiving and four total touchdowns.
It’s worth mentioning that Rice dealt with a hip injury that year, which could explain his dip in production. However, Pro Football Focus still had him rated as the worst qualifying running back in the league that year.