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Sidney Rice, Red Bryant released by Seattle Seahawks

Now that the football season is over, the business season is forcing the Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks into difficult decisions.

The Seahawks announced Friday that wide receiver Sidney Rice and defensive tackle Red Bryant have been released.

The news does not come as a surprise. NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported that both players were expected to be salary-cap casualties.

Coming off ACL surgery, Rice was due $9.7 million in 2014. With Percy Harvin's cap number skyrocketing to $13.4 million and Golden Tate as a free-agent priority, there was no room in the budget for Rice, who was cut with a failed physical designation.

Although Bryant has long been a key run-plugger, he played fewer snaps than Brandon Mebane and Tony McDaniel in the rotation last season. He was due for a $3 million roster bonus which the Seahawks never planned on paying.

Freeing up Bryant's $8.5 million cap number will also help the team make a serious run at re-signing pass rusher Michael Bennett.

As we witnessed with the mass exodus of Baltimore Ravens stars last offseason, these moves represent the high cost of defending a Lombardi Trophy in the salary-cap and free-agency era.

With Defensive Player of the Year candidates Earl Thomas and Richard Sherman also in line for lucrative extensions, this front office is concentrating on keeping its talented young nucleus intact.

If Pete Carroll and John Schneider want to build the NFL's next dynasty, they understand the first step is culling the herd.

The latest edition of the "Around The League Podcast" discusses the top 101 free agents and forecasts the offseasons of the Baltimore Ravens and Kansas City Chiefs.

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