The New England Patriots’ trend of re-upping their veteran locker room leaders continued Tuesday.
One day into the NFL’s legal tampering period, the Patriots re-signed running back James White to a two-year, $5 million contract, according to a report from NFL Media’s Tom Pelissero.
Just $500,000 of that is guaranteed — unsurprising with the 30-year-old White coming off major hip surgery that cut short his 2021 season after three games. The Boston Herald’s Karen Guregian last week reported White was “doing great” in his recovery and planned to play in 2022.
White confirmed the signing to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, saying he also received interest from Josh McDaniels’ Las Vegas Raiders.
“(New England) wanted me back, that’s all that matters,” said White, who has spent his entire NFL career with the Patriots.
The Patriots also celebrated White’s return on social media.
A three-time Super Bowl champion and longtime team captain, White was arguably the Patriots’ most consistent offensive player before his injury, amassing 132 yards from scrimmage and one touchdown on 22 touches. The 2014 fourth-round draft pick ranked among the NFL’s top pass-catching backs during the final half-decade of the Tom Brady era.
Though his injury and age are question marks as he enters his ninth pro season, White, if healthy, should serve as a valuable security blanket for second-year quarterback Mac Jones.
Veteran special teamer Brandon Bolden was a solid fill-in for White this past season but has a lower offensive ceiling. Bolden also is an impending free agent.
Retaining long-tenured veterans has been a clear priority for the Patriots as the official start of NFL free agency nears. Thus far, they’ve re-signed safety Devin McCourty, special teamer Matthew Slater, backup quarterback Brian Hoyer, kicker Nick Folk, reserve offensive lineman James Ferentz and now White. Their only external addition has come via trade, acquiring linebacker Mack Wilson from Cleveland in exchange for outside linebacker Chase Winovich.
White, McCourty and Slater have served four, 11 and 11 seasons as Patriots co-captains, respectively.