Ray Rice has been surrounded with controversy off the field for an extended period of time, thanks to a video was released of him hitting his fiancé in an elevator and the Baltimore Ravens had little choice but to release him.
Now a year removed and at the age of 28, Rice seeks to redeem himself with a second chance.
The Cleveland Browns had internal discussions recently about signing Rice as rookie Duke Johnson and second-year backs Terrance West are battling injuries. The Browns seem to be the best fit for Rice since Cleveland will continue to feature a run-heavy offense.
Ray Farmer and Mike Pettine can easily sell Rice on the idea of taking the role that was intended for Ben Tate last season. It was presumed that the Dallas Cowboys were the obvious choice for Rice after losing DeMarco Murray to free agency. In theory, Rice could have a nice market in Dallas, who has a long history of signing troubled players with off-the-field issues. The Cowboys have that reputation for being America’s team.
Can Rice honestly reject an offer to sign with the Cowboys and their highly-touted offense consisting of quarterback Tony Romo, wide receiver Dez Bryant and tight end Jason Witten? The Browns and Cowboys could be in a bidding war soon.
What about the Tampa Bay Buccaneers? Can they really depend on Doug Martin?
Can Rice be a main weapon in the revamped Buccaneers offense that features rookie quarterback Jameis Winston, wide receiver Mike Evans, receiver Vincent Jackson, and an upgraded offensive line? Why should San Francisco get involved in the imminent bidding war?
The 49ers need to ensure there is a main weapon to replace Frank Gore. As curious as the 49ers are to see what Carlos Hyde can do as a starter, Rice could be the better option. Hyde may need some time to develop his skill set so signing Rice to a one or two-year deal may be a good idea so that the 49ers can hand over the reins to Hyde when the time is right.
As of now, the market for Rice is quiet, but it wouldn’t surprise me if any of the teams mentioned above, at least offer him a invite to training camp.