SAN FRANCISCO – Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff and coach Dan Quinn appear to be leaning toward retaining wide receiver Roddy White, who has two years left on his contract.
White, who was drafted in the first round of the 2005 draft, had averaged 88.2 catches per season over the previous eight campaigns. White, 34, who has two years remaining on his contract, caught just 43 passes and was targetted 70 times last season.
White is the franchise leader in touchdown receptions (63), catches (808) and yards receiving (10,863).
“We are still going through it,” Quinn said on Thursday. “We’re getting there. We are not there yet, but we’re getting close.”
White’s contract status is not an issue.
“It’s a combination, of course he can still play,” Quinn said. “It’s a combination of can we feature him in the best way for him and allow other players to come up through the system as well.”
White appears to have won over Quinn.
“He is from a competitor’s standpoint, absolutely he has all the stuff,” Quinn said. “Can he catch? He had some of the fewest drops on our whole team, so like his game is still complete. It’s just a matter of what is the best way for us to feature him.”
The Falcons must make decisions on other veterans like safety William Moore and whether to re-sign veterans O’Brien Schofield, Adrian Clayborn and Kroy Biermann. Knowing the nuances of the defense might help Biermann land another contract with the team.
“He’s not the only guy that we have to talk about or that we a going through this with,” Quinn said. “Because of his stature here in the city and with the fans and what (White) stands for, he’s really a guy that we have to talk about.”
Dimitroff admitted to perhaps parting ways with center Todd McClure too soon after the 2012 season. He handed McClure’s job over to Peter Konz in 2013 when McClure wanted to play another season.
“It’s not always about the talent that may be wavering a little bit at the tell end of a career,” Dimitroff said. “It’s about other things as well. It’s the about the leadership aspect and the culture aspect. A lot goes into the decision.”
The Falcons may try to use White more in the slot like Arizona did with Larry Fitzgerald last season. Fitzgerald, 32, caught a career-high 109 passes and had a 1,000-yard (1,215) season for the first time since 2011.
“I thought Larry had an unbelievable year,” Quinn said. “The plays that he made, it was like a couple of years ago… he’s always been like this terrific competitor. But you root for players like him. You root for players like Rod, who have that warrior mindset to them. Where Rod is at his best is on the (inside) breaking stuff. Where he’s (moving) from outside to in. That’s where he can use his strength to body a guy up so to speak.”
White played some in the slot at times last season depending on the route concepts and combinations.
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