The Patriots are bringing back of their most tenured and productive players on the offensive side of the ball. As first reported by NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, the team is signing running back James White to a two-year, $2.5 million dollar deal that includes $500,000 in guaranteed money.
White has been a focal point of the Patriots offense since stepping into a regular role in 2016. He finished first or second on the team in receptions in four of five years between 2016 and 2020, and is one of only two backs in the NFL in that span with at least 300 receptions, 2,500-plus receiving yards, and 20-plus receiving touchdowns along with Alvin Kamara.
Last year White only played in three games before a hip injury ended his season. According to CLNS Media’s Evan Lazar, White’s recovery “is going well” and he expected to be back to 100 percent for the 2022 season.
FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS - SEPTEMBER 12: James White #28 of the New England Patriots makes a catch past the reach of Jerome Baker #55 of the Miami Dolphins during the second half at Gillette Stadium on September 12, 2021 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
By bringing back White, the Patriots essentially add an offensive weapon Mac Jones didn’t have last year. If White were to have left, the team would have needed to go elsewhere to find a pass-catching back with Brandon Bolden also a free agent. According to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, the Raiders also showed interest in White.
With White back in the fold, the Patriots have four running backs under contract. He joins Damien Harris, Rhamondre Stevenson, and J.C. Taylor. Devine Ozigbo is signed to a futures deal that will become official on Wednesday.
Four of the Patriots’ six captains from the 2021 team were set to be free agents, and now three of those four have returned in White, Devin McCourty, and Matthew Slater. Dont’a Hightower remains the lone unsigned player of that group.
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