Will James White Be Back With the Patriots Next Season?

NFL rumors: Latest update on Patriots free agent RB James White originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

So far during 2021 NFL free agency, the New England Patriots have been very active.

They have added countless weapons to their offense including Hunter Henry, Jonnu Smith, Nelson Agholor, and Kendrick Bourne. They also re-signed Cam Newton and traded for Trent Brown in their efforts to upgrade that unit.

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That said, there is still one key offensive player tied to the team that is still out there: James White. The team's top pass-catching running back is a free agent this offseason, but so far, he hasn't signed anywhere.

There is a reason for that. According to NFL Network's Mike Giardi, White is taking his time to field calls since "the market slow to develop at RB."

This is a sensible strategy from White. The running back market is often slow-moving since teams view the position as largely replaceable.

Nowhere to run
Average annual value of RB contracts signed in 2021

However, since White is more of a third-down back that catches passes out of the backfield, his shelf life is longer than other between-the-tacklers RBs. So, while the best offers may not be out there right now, there will eventually be a solid market for him. The 29-year-old is playing it smart by staying patient to get the offer that he's looking for.

It is known that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are among those interested in White's services. This is no surprise considering that Tom Brady is their quarterback and he loved throwing to White in New England. Plus, the Bucs need a good receiver out of the backfield, especially if Leonard Fournette heads elsewhere in free agency.

As for the Patriots, it seems that they're willing to let White walk. We'll see if they change their mind and enter the fray during what has been an aggressive offseason, but if they do let him go, they could target a running back during the 2021 NFL Draft to add some depth behind Sony Michel and Damien Harris.

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