Now that the news of the Simeon Rice signing has had time to sink in arounf the NFL, the opinion of many we could give a dman less about are beginning to trickle out into the public. One such opinion comes from ESPN.com's John Clayton who had this to say about the Rice signing in his Insider Blog --
Once the Broncos lost Ebenezer Ekuban for the season, they became desperate for a pass rusher even though they drafted two defensive ends -- Jarvis Moss and Tim Crowder. It's pretty apparent Mike Shanahan doesn't believe the first two picks are ready yet, so getting Rice was essential.
The Rams weren't going to pay him much more than $1 million. The Broncos stepped up and gave him a $3 million guarantee along with another $1 million in incentives. Shanahan doesn't believe in building for the future. Rice, he thinks, gives the Broncos the best chance to win now, but it does make for an older starting defensive line, which could be a problem later in the season.
While Clayton is partially correct, the part about Shanahan playing to win today, Clayton has it all wrong when it comes to the confidence level Shanny has in his young D-Line contingent. Simeon Rice was, at least up until last season, a great player. The Broncos will take a look at any player, at any position, that could make the team better regardless of the depth or comfort the coaches or fans have with that position.
Shanahan simply looked at his roster, saw that a player like Rice could have a positive impact, and made the offer to get the deal done. It makes no statement about what Shanny thinks about Corwder, or Moss, or even Elvis Dumervil. It simply makes a statement, once again, that the Broncos are not going to sit still when an opportunity to make the team better presents itself. Sometimes those risks don't work out -- Maurice Clarett, sometimes they do -- Jay Cutler.
Clayton is completely off the mark when it comes to his assertion that the Broncos could have a problem later in the season with an "older defensive line". The Broncos are simply buying time until Crowder and Moss are ready to make a significant contribution, which I am confident they will make before the season is over. Rice is a very talented stop-gap, who will be relied upon to supply a pass rush until the young guys get their feet under them. It shouldn't take long, Moss and Crowder are extremely talented players from big-time college football power-houses who have played in huge games and elite talent their entire careers. They'll be ready sooner rather than later and Rice allows the Broncos to let them "ripen" while having a player and personality like Rice take enormous amounts of pressure off of the young guys while providing welcome depth to the D-Line.
Whether you like Simeon Rice or not, the Broncos, for little more than a few million dollars, improved today, and not a moment too soon.