Patriots: Patriots should bring back James White

James White, a three-time Super Bowl champion and Patriot since 2014, is going to be a free agent in just over a week for the second year in a row. Like last year, the Patriots should bring him back into the fold for 2022 to bolster their already strong running back group.

White, 30, played in only three games in 2021 before suffering a hip injury that ended his season. Brandon Bolden stepped up to fill in for White and although he had some nice moments, there was a drop-off in impact and production. White had 49 receptions in 2020 and at least 56 per season from 2016-2019. Though primarily a passing back, he has run the ball effectively in limited opportunities as well, most notably his 425 rushing yards and five rushing touchdowns in 2018.

His playoff performances have been stellar, highlighted by his monster game in Super Bowl LI that nearly won him the game’s MVP. He had six carries for 29 yards and two touchdowns while catching 14 passes for 110 yards and one touchdown. He also successfully converted a two-point play in that game.

Fast forward to 2021 and before his injury White remained a valuable part of the offense and a top option for Mac Jones. In 2+ games, White had 12 catches for 94 yards and 10 rushes for 38 yards and a touchdown. While these are not earth-shattering numbers, they represent a strong complement to Damien Harries and Rhamondre Stevenson in the backfield.

White played for $2.5 million last year and given his injury it is likely that the Patriots could get him for less in 2022. It has been reported that White is doing well in his recovery and ready to play in 2022. It’s no secret that the Patriots need to upgrade their passing attack, specifically at wide receiver. However, a good first step in improving the passing game and making Mac Jones comfortable in his second year would be to bring White back.