Anyone who followed the Atlanta Falcons last season knows that long-time wide receiver Roddy White played an insignificant role in the team’s offense. Despite publicly expressing his desire to be targeted more often, the team relied heavily on Julio Jones. It was clear the Falcons no longer believed in White’s abilities.
In 16 games, White, 34, received just 70 targets and tallied 43 receptions for 506 yards and a substandard one TD. It was his worst statistical campaign in all categories since 2006.
Now, the Falcons have elected to make the incredibly difficult but inevitable decision to move on from their all-time leading wide receiver after 11 seasons, as White was released on Wednesday.
— USA TODAY Sports (@USATODAYsports) March 2, 2016
White had a truly remarkable run in Atlanta. In six seasons between 2007-2012, White finished with no less than 1,153 receiving yards. He currently has 10,863 career receiving yards which is good for 35th all-time and eighth-most among active NFL players.
White was due to make a base salary of $2.75 million with a bonus of $1.5 million from the contract he signed in 2014 that was expected to keep him with the franchise for the remainder of his career, or at least until the Falcons’ new stadium opened in 2017.
Perhaps if offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan had used him more often in 2015, the Falcons could justify keeping White’s salary under their cap. However, Atlanta needs an incredible amount of help on defense in order to give head coach Dan Quinn, a former defensive coordinator, the proper tools to fully implement his system.
The emergence of running back Devonta Freeman gives the Falcons the ability to do more running then they have in recent years as well. Atlanta undoubtedly needs to make a number of additions to the pass attack, but the core is in place, and White is no longer a part of the mix.
White might not be heavily in-demand, but he will absolutely find a job. Whispers that are vociferous in nature suggest the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are interested in obtaining the veteran’s services. ESPN’s Jocinda Anderson reached out to White via text, and tweeted out his reply to where he might like to play next.
Asked what teams would he consider playing for now, Roddy White text me back: “I’m a Southern guy. I love the South.”
— Josina Anderson (@JosinaAnderson) March 2, 2016
Clearly, White isn’t ready for retirement. Don’t be surprised if he ends up performng well in a limited role during a ‘revenge campaign’ in 2016.