The Atlanta Falcons have utilized the skills of wide receiver Roddy White since his rookie season in 2005 and are looking to continue this pattern of play, signing the thirty-two-year-old to a four-year contract extension on Thursday that runs through the 2018 campaign.
White’s new deal, which is worth $30 million according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, eliminates any distractions that could have risen on either side in what was geared to be White’s final year under contract. The new contract also guarantees that White and fellow receiver Julio Jones will serve as one of the league’s most dynamic receiving duos through at least 2016.
A former first round pick out of UAB, White has been one of the most productive receivers in the game since his debut. At this point White ranks 8th in receiving yards, 12th in total receptions, and 14th in touchdown receptions among current players.
White is coming off arguably his worst season with the Falcons, reeling in just 63 receptions for 711 yards and three touchdowns. The slack in production can be attributed to problems with his ankle and his hamstring, which both explains the low numbers but also leaves room for concern about his health for the next five seasons.
Some in the league often seem to overlook White when discussing the top receivers in the game, yet the James Island, South Carolina native has quietly set a handful of Falcons records due to his excellent consistency on the gridiron. Among his record-breaking feats with the Falcons is having the most receiving yards in a season (1,389 in 2010), receiving yards in a game (210), receptions in a playoff game (11), and seasons with at least 1,000 yards (6).
The Falcons have had their share of talented receivers over the years in players like Andre Rison, Terance Mathis, and Alfred Jenkins, yet no one in the history of the franchise has produced like White has. Despite his being on the wrong side of thirty, we can expect White to continue producing in a receiving corps that is dependent on himself and Jones for at least two more seasons, which should be enough time for Atlanta to groom their future passing weapons and for Jones to take another step towards being one of the best in the league.
White may have a propensity for putting his foot in his mouth whether it’s during a game or while on Twitter, but the fact remains that he has been one of the biggest playmakers in Falcons history. Such a feat calls for a few requirements from the team, including locking White up to ensure that his last touchdown comes in the same jersey as his first.