Atlanta Falcons wide receivers wide receiver Roddy White (84) and wide receiver Julio Jones (11) work on a drill on the field during training camp at Falcons Training Complex. (USA TODAY Sports: Dale Zanine)
With four-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Roddy White, 32, in the fold for four more years, the Falcons can turn their attention to locking up Julio Jones.
Jones is set to play the fifth season of his rookie contract, and is next up at the contract window. White’s deal practically ensures that he will finish his career with the Falcons.
Parts of White’s extension are based on his production, and the total could reach $30 million, with $11 million of the deal guaranteed.
“It was important to me to get the deal done,” White said. “When we got it done, I was so happy that I’m going to be here for the next couple of years. Hopefully, we can go out there and we can win a Super Bowl.”
He wants to play at least three more seasons, according to Jones.
It has been a tumultuous offseason for White, who’ll turn 33 in November.
Contract talks were put on hold after the shooting death of his brother Tyrone Moore Jr. and his mother’s recent marriage.
White, a native of James Island, S.C., was elated that the deal was completed before he was scheduled to report for camp.
Both sides had been rather quiet as negotiations were placed on the back burner. White was a holdout during the 2009 training camp, while his old deal was being hammered out. Neither side wanted a repeat of that.
Under general manager Thomas Dimitroff, the Falcons have made a point to re-sign productive players to cap-friendly deals. This offseason, the Falcons re-signed Jonathan Babineaux for the second time and also re-signed defensive tackles Corey Peters and Peria Jerry and offensive lineman Mike Johnson.
Getting White’s deal squared away was important because Jones could become a free agent after the season. The Falcons plan to extend Jones’ contract before he reaches free agency.
Arizona wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, a close friend of White’s, didn’t want to concede the best-tandem in the league title to White and Jones.
“They put up a lot of great numbers over a lot of games in Atlanta, so everybody’s opinion is everybody’s opinion,” Fitzgerald said recently in Greensboro for a golf outing. “There are a lot of really talented tandems in the game. There a lot of really wonderful players on wonderful teams.”
However, Fitzgerald’s teammate Patrick Peterson believes White and Jones are the best duo in the NFL.
“The best duo in the NFL, I’d probably have to say that’s pretty accurate,” Peterson said. “Both of those guys are Pro Bowl-caliber receivers, both of them are All-Pro-caliber receivers. Both of them do a lot of good things for Matt Ryan to make his job a little easier.”
White, 6-foot, 211 pounds, struggled with drops early in his career. He started to blossom in 2007 and posted six consecutive 1,000-yard seasons.
The four-time Pro Bowler holds club records for career receptions (685), career receiving yards (9,436), career 100-yard receiving games (37), and career games with 10 or more receptions (11). White also holds franchise records for single-season receiving yards (1,389), single-season receptions (115), single-game receiving yards (210), and single-season 100-yard games (six).
Last season, White struggled as he battled through a right high-ankle sprain and hamstring injuries. He rebounded down the stretch and finished with 43 passes for 502 yards and two touchdowns.
White’s 685 receptions rank eighth among active players while his 9,436 receiving yards rank fifth. His 55 touchdown catches during that time also rank 10th in the NFL.
Between 2010 and 2012, White posted one of the most impressive runs by any receiver in NFL history. He finished the 2012 season with 92 catches and 1,351 yards, becoming just the fifth player in NFL history to record three consecutive seasons with 90-plus receptions and 1,200-plus yards.
White joined Marvin Harrison (1999-02), Torry Holt (2002-05), Jerry Rice (1993-96), and Chad Johnson (2003-05) as the only players to accomplish that feat.
White never thought he’d be playing this long.
“When I first got into the league, I just wanted to play five years,” White said. “That’s crazy. But over time, when you get to this point, it’s been really, really good. We’ve won a lot of games. Especially since coach (Mike) Smith got here. It’s been a heck of a ride.”