Why Falcons legend Roddy White may be on his way out of Atlanta

Atlanta Falcons receiver Roddy White may not be a Hall of Famer, but there’s no doubt he will quickly enter the franchise’s Ring of Honor shortly after he retires. He’s meant that much to the Falcons, and to Atlanta.

But it’s looking more and more like White’s time as an Atlanta Falcon is about to abruptly end.

The franchise’s all-time leader in receiving has heard nothing from the Falcons’ front office this offseason, he told AJC.com. Although White isn’t a free agent – he has two years remaining on his contract – the Falcons made no secret that they’d consider releasing him after a subpar season in which he was hardly targeted at all in some games.

“It would be a tragedy if I had to leave,” White told AJC.com.

(More: #TBT – Georgia Dome under construction, 1991)

But if the Falcons were hellbent on bringing White back, you’d think someone would have said something about it by now. If the plan is to stay the course with a franchise legend, there’d be no reason to hide it and “no comment” this away.

If you’re going to release a guy like White, however, there’d be plenty of reason to stay quiet. You’d want to minimize the public outcry until the separation is actually done.

It’s true that White, 34, has lost a step on the back end of his 11-year career. It’s also true that the Falcons have serious problems at receiver (aside from superhuman Julio Jones, who can’t do it all alone, try as he might), so the franchise needs to figure out a plan for the future. Jones needs help, and if White can’t provide that, they need to find someone through free agency or the draft.

ESPN.com suggests possible free agent targets to replace White could be Mohamed Sanu of the Cincinnati Bengals or Travis Benjamin of the Cleveland Browns. Benjamin had nearly twice the receiving yards of White last season, but Sanu had fewer yards than both. While Sanu is young, good luck explaining the move to cut a legend who had a better season, even if it’s a big-time money saver.

And if White’s replacement doesn’t outperform Roddy next season, wherever he plays, that would be, well, a tragedy.

Photo: AP/John Bazemore

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