12:30pm: For what it’s worth, D. Orlando Ledbetter of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution says there is no truth to the trade rumors regarding White. Said one high-ranking official, “[We’ve] had no calls and most importantly [White] is a Falcon and an important part of this offense.”
8:33am: Three teams are interested in trading for Falcons wide receiver Roddy White, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (article via Conor Orr of NFL.com). Rapoport did not say which three teams have expressed interest, but it makes sense that receiver-needy clubs would be contacting Atlanta about the 33-year-old wideout, whose role in the Falcons’ offense has dwindled significantly this year.
Although his professional career got off to a slow start, White established himself as one of the best receivers in the league from 2007-2012, putting together six consecutive seasons of over 1,150 receiving yards and hauling in 49 touchdowns during that time. His best statistical season came in 2010, when he caught 115 passes for 1,389 yards and 10 touchdowns, earning First Team All-Pro honors in the process. He was hampered by injury in 2013, but played better towards the end of that season and then nearly hit the 1,000-yard mark again in 2014, making 80 catches for 921 yards and seven scores. Prior to the 2014 campaign, the Falcons reaffirmed their faith in White by extending his contract through 2017.
It makes sense that White’s role in the offense would take a hit as he gets older and as Julio Jones continues to put his otherworldly abilities on display. However, White has become quarterback Matt Ryan‘s third option this season, behind Jones and the surprising Leonard Hankerson. At the moment, White is on pace for just 52 targets, which would easily set a new career low.
As trade rumors have picked up steam, White has said all the right things, indicating that he has no complaints as long as the team is winning (although he did naturally concede that he would like to see more passes thrown in his direction, and it has been reported that White would not be averse to a trade). Plus, any potential deal for White would be complicated by the extension that he signed last summer. White is slated to earn $5MM this year, and the Falcons would likely be unwilling to eat any of that salary, considering how much of a weapon White represents (indeed, no other club has a receiver of White’s caliber matching up against the third-best corner on opposing defenses). But teams are doing their due diligence just in case, with Carolina and Baltimore looking like two of the most likely landing spots if the Falcons ultimately decide to pull the trigger.