Atlanta Falcons: Urgency at wide receiver increases after Roddy White release
It’s the end of an era as Atlanta Falcons legend Roddy White is released, increasing the urgency to find a wide receiver.
With the release of Roddy White, the Atlanta Falcons have made a major statement regarding the wide receiver situation. The Falcons went into the 2015 season with White and Leonard Hankerson as the complementary wideouts, and now neither is with the club.
Falcons owner Arthur Blank had the following to say about White, per Vaughn McClure of ESPN:
"“Roddy will forever be part of the Falcons family and I’m confident our fans will always remember and be grateful for the exemplary way he has represented them over the last 11 years.”"
White’s release is an emotional one for the Falcons after an incredible 11-year career in Atlanta. In that time, he piled up 10,863 receiving yards and 63 touchdowns, becoming the all-time leading receiver in franchise history. The Falcons save $2.36 million in cap room.
So what’s next for the Falcons?
A replacement needs to be found at a position now looking very thin. Julio Jones is one of the best in the game, but he needs complementary pieces alongside him. Justin Hardy is entering his second season with the Falcons and should see an increased role in the slot. That leaves a vacancy at the No. 2 spot.
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Alshon Jeffery is remaining in Chicago, meaning the Falcons would need to look elsewhere in free agency. The Dolphins’ Rishard Matthews, the Browns’ Travis Benjamin and the Bengals’ Mohamed Sanu are just a few names being thrown around as potential targets for the Falcons. Benjamin would perhaps be the most intriguing option as he offers elite speed and is a vertical threat. The Patriots have released Brandon LaFell, who could also be an option.
The draft class isn’t as deep as we’ve seen in recent years, but there are a couple of names with first round grades such as Laquon Treadwell and Corey Coleman. Both could dominate in Atlanta, but it’s unlikely the Falcons use a first round pick on the position. Maybe a player like Sterling Shepard, Braxton Miller or Josh Doctson will land in Atlanta – all three will likely be selected no later than day two, however.
The Falcons have a glaring need at the WR2 spot, and the release of White signals their intention to be aggressive at the position. One thing is for sure, the Falcons have a plan. For now, there is only thing thing left to say.
Thank you, Roddy.