Atlanta fans are very aware that Roddy White and Jerious Norwood are approaching free agency. Roddy White has 2009 as the final season of his rookie deal, one where he has been very underpaid for his performance with Matt Ryan in 2008 and even Chris Redman in 2007.
The Falcons don’t seem in a hurry to sign White to a long-term deal, and they really don’t have to be. White will be a restricted free agent after the 2009 season, so the Falcons could offer the highest tender, forcing another team to give up two 1st-round picks to sign the premiere wide receiver. Plus, Atlanta could match the offer of another team to keep Roddy White in a Falcons’ uniform.
Basically, Atlanta has two years to work out a deal with White. Another top receiver, Greg Jennings in Green Bay, just signed a 3-year deal for $27 million. That is around the salary per year I would expect White to end up with. Larry Fitzgerald is the cream of the crop in the NFL at receiver, but one could argue, especially after another Pro Bowl-caliber season from White, that Roddy can covet the 2nd-highest number at the position.
While I believe wide receivers as a rule are replaceable, there are a small handful of guys in the NFL at any given time at change the game from the position and warrant a high salary and commitment from their team. Roddy White is one of those guys. Randy Moss, Andre Johnson, Calvin Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald, even Terrell Owens still – they change the ways defensive coordinators approach a game. Roddy White not only makes big plays and stretches the field, he blocks in the run game, which is vitally important to Michael Turner, Jerious Norwood and the ground game of Atlanta in the years to come.