Sidney Rice: Seattle Seahawks attract NFL free agents


The Seattle Seahawks came out of the 2013 offseason with the NFL's strongest roster, thanks to savvy drafting and the salary-cap freedom provided by Russell Wilson's meager contract.

Silver: Why Seattle's the place to be
The Seahawks used to be an afterthought among free agents, but Michael Silver says Pete Carroll completely flipped the script. READ

The Seahawks will have yet another advantage entering the 2014 offseason. Coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider have a created a player-friendly environment and winning atmosphere that is attracting veteran free agents to a northwest corner of the country that was formerly an NFL outpost.

"When I first arrived, we never really got any respect over here, and we felt like people kind of ignored us," wide receiver Sidney Rice said this week, via NFL Media columnist Michael Silver. "As you see now, more and more people are coming in this direction. ... It's basically word of mouth. This is where you want to be. And when guys get here, they always end up asking, 'Why didn't I come here earlier?' And then they never want to leave."

That word of mouth not only lured Rice, but also defensive ends Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril to Seattle.

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"People want to come here and play for Pete," Bennett said after last Saturday's victory. "He just lets you be yourself. And we're only gonna get better, too. We're so young, man. It's gonna be great to see us grow."

Defensive Player of the Year candidates Richard Sherman and Earl Thomas believe players across the league will choose to sign with the Seahawks because they want a chance to win.

"Guys who come to this team are in awe," Thomas told Silver. "It's a fun organization, a light atmosphere, and we work hard. ... We have genuine respect for one another. It's a great place to be."

The allure of Seattle is bad news for the rest of the league. Since Wilson's contract cannot be extended until 2015, the Seahawks will have a competitive edge in roster building for at least another calendar year.

As an astute Vernon Davis pointed out last June, Carroll and Schneider are constructing a dynasty in the Pacific Northwest.

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