Good old Roddy White. He's always good for a quote, but he's also good for an occasional clutch reception. You may not remember much about Roddy's season, but you may remember the game (I think it was the Colts game) where our favorite OC Kyle Shanahan spent the first drive of the game calling three straight passes to Roddy White. That drive ended in a three and out. But enough about that, let's dive into the review.
It's no secret Roddy White had a reduced role in the offense, but everybody south of Devonta Freeman had a reduced role. Whether that reduction was of the players' own doing or not is up for debate, but it doesn't take a genius to see that 2015 was the Julio Jones Show for us. How reduced was Roddy White's role? Check out these numbers: Roddy White had the second most receptions for a WR on the team. Sounds good, right?
Roddy White had 93 fewer receptions than Julio Jones, and Roddy was 4th overall on the team with 43 receptions. While Jacob Tamme (59) and Devonta Freeman (73) had more receptions, I think it's important to note that we need more production from the WR position. Leonard Hankerson (26) was poised to be that guy, but injuries ultimately derailed his one and only year with the team. Even then, he was only on pace for 52 receptions.
While not huge, Roddy's contract is one that provides expectations for greater production than he provided this year. That's not to say the burden falls entirely on him; I do think Kyle Shanahan bears some blame, but I also think that if Roddy were getting open, Matty would've been hitting him a little more often.
According to Spotrac, Roddy is set to be the 27th highest cap hit for a WR in the NFL and 6th highest on the team. He's due for a $6.1 million cap hit or so, which would inflate to $6.7 million in 2017, if he sticks around. The dead cap money goes from $3.7 million this year to $1.8 million next year. Roddy White is a free agent after 2017, in which case he is surely done playing.
Outlook for 2016
I would bank on Roddy White being a Falcon for the 2016 season. Beyond that remains to be seen, but let me throw this on you:
Despite what Dave Choate will be writing in the days ahead...(Spoiler alert, he thinks the next Ring of Honor inductee on the team will NOT be Roddy White OR Matt Ryan, stay tuned to see who he thinks it'll be)
...Roddy White is the greatest Falcon WR ever to play, and that kind of respect can occasionally go a long way with a team. Reggie Wayne's final two years look something like this:
2014 (Age 35, in 7 games): 38 Rec, 503 Yds, 2 TD
2015 (Age 36): 64 Rec, 779 Yds, 2 TD
In the right system, an older WR can still flourish. There's no reason to think that Roddy White cannot continue to be somewhat useful to us as he enters his age 34 season. He has taken tremendous care of his body, much like Reggie Wayne did throughout his career, and it stands to reason that he can still provide something as long as we have a QB that attempts 600 passes a season.
Here's what I'd do: I would honor Roddy White's contract as a Falcon to the very end, even if his performance tails off. He's still Roddy White, he still makes crazy clutch catches, and he will always be a fan favorite. His cap number isn't egregious (He's 215th highest cap hit in the NFL overall, also) and he can still occasionally make plays when called upon.
Plus, what the heck other reason do you need other than he's Roddy White?!