The Falcons want to lock up former All-Pro wide receiver Roddy White up for the long haul, but an unfortunate tragedy put football and contract talks on the backburner earlier this offseason. Understandably, neither side wanted to talk business after the untimely passing of White’s half-brother, Tyron Moore Jr. While things were put on hold, we learned earlier today that the Falcons still expect to hammer out an extension with White at some point this offseason.
The report from Ian Rapoport of NFL Network suggested that Brandon Marshall‘s new three-year, $30MM pact with the Bears could be used as a model for the deal. On the surface, that sounds like a fair deal considering that both men have been among the league’s elite wide receivers for several years. However, given White’s injury struggles last season and the presence of Julio Jones on the other side of the field, that could be a bit too lofty for him. Besides, Marshall is a couple years younger than White, who will celebrate his 33rd birthday in November.
Complicating matters further will be Jones’ contract situation. The dynamic receiver is set to earn $5.15MM in 2014 and $10.18MM in 2015 before he’s eligible to hit free agency and it’s a safe bet that his next deal will have an average annual value closer to his 2015 salary than his 2014 figure. At the end of the day, however, the Falcons know that White’s effectiveness will be limited if he doesn’t have another elite WR with him to attract attention. The Falcons got some solid games out of Harry Douglas and others last season, but outside of Jones, no wide receiver on the roster can deliver like White.
Some might say that a better comparable for White would be Colts veteran Reggie Wayne, who signed a three-year, $17.5MM extension at age 33. ESPN.com’s Vaughn McClure raised this point recently, but there are a couple of reasons why that comparable might be off. For starters, in our humble opinion, White has more value than Wayne, even when taking health into account. Secondly, Wayne’s deal was struck two years ago when teams were working under a smaller salary cap. Three years is probably the appropriate length on a new deal for White and a dollar figure that falls between Marshall’s deal and Wayne’s deal (say, $8MM average annual value) would make a lot of sense.