James White

Patriots Rumors: Injury Updates, Zappe, Perkins

The Patriots released some practice photos recently and, according to Zack Cox of NESN, some of the pictures seem to indicate the much anticipated returns of several previously-injured Patriots. These players included running back James White, cornerback Jonathan Jones, tight end Dalton Keene, linebacker Raekwon McMillan, and linebacker Anfernee Jennings.

White suffered a hip injury last year that required surgery serious enough to end his season and leave him bedridden for months. He hasn’t been fully cleared to return, but seeing him active on the field bodes well for his recovery.

Jones had surgery to repair his shoulder in October and missed the remainder of the season in recovery. McMillan tore his ACL before the season started, but impressed in his limited time before the injury. Keene and Jennings were both placed on injured reserve in August and missed the entire season as a result.

Here are a few other rumors from New England:

  • New England turned some heads on Day 3 of the Draft when they selected quarterback Bailey Zappe in the fourth round. At a point in the Draft where some teams normally address their positional needs, the Patriots selected a quarterback in the first draft after rookie passer Mac Jones led them to the playoffs. For an explanation, ESPN’s Mike Reiss pointed to a discussion with analysts Todd McShay and Louis Riddick, in which they cover “how it can be good business to draft and develop quarterbacks.” He also quotes former NFL general manger Randy Mueller who applauded the pick, saying that he would rather draft for value over need at that point in the Draft.
  • After not appearing in any regular season games last season, second-year Patriots outside linebacker Ronnie Perkins is ready to take the next step, according to Reiss. Perkins was buried on the depth chart behind Kyle Van Noy, now with the Chargers, and Jamie Collins, now a free agent. The departure of Van Noy and Collins leaves a hole opposite Pro Bowl pass rusher Matt Judon and Reiss reports that New England coaches are confident Perkins is getting ready to step up.

AFC East Rumors: Bills, Becton, Jets, White

In the research that led to the Bills’ new stadium deal in Buffalo, the team acknowledged that they looked at many cities that are “oft-mentioned in NFL circles,” according to Tim O’Shei of The Buffalo News.

The Bills organization didn’t specify which cities they researched, but O’Shei’s report lists those often-discussed cities as Orlando, San Diego, San Antonio, Austin, St. Louis, Portland, Salt Lake City, Birmingham, and Louisville. International markets, such as Toronto or London, have also recently entered discussions.

Here are a few other rumors from around the AFC East, starting with a couple notes from Jersey:

  • In a post-Draft analysis of the Jets, ESPN’s Rich Cimini discussed the situation surrounding Jets tackle Mekhi Becton. Rumors before the draft were hinting that New York would use one of their two top-ten draft picks to add a tackle to assist them in moving on from Becton, but the Jets instead addressed the cornerback and receiver rooms. Head coach Robert Saleh initially claimed Becton would compete with George Fant for the blindside job, but hinted more recently that Becton may move to the right side of the line. Unfortunately for the Jets, they won’t have an opportunity to see how he fits over there until he reports, as Becton has decided to skip the team’s voluntary workouts. Cimini makes a great point that, since their insurance policy of Morgan Moses departed to Baltimore in free agency, it is crucial that Becton sees success at right tackle.
  • Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated also wrote an analysis of the NFL Draft with a section focusing on the Jets’ historic first round. Breer mentions how, after the Jets were able to land Cincinnati cornerback Ahmad Gardner and Ohio State wide receiver Garrett Wilson in the top-ten, Saleh encouraged general manager Joe Douglas to go after Florida State defensive end Jermaine Johnson II should he start to slide down the board. New York turned up the heat after the Eagles moved ahead of the Ravens and Johnson continued to fall, making phone calls to the Texans (at 15), the Commanders (at 16), and the Chargers (at 17). After talking to the Titans, who had moved up to 18 with the A.J. Brown-trade, Douglas knew Tennessee was going to select a wide receiver to fill their new A.J. Brown-shaped hole, but a discussion was made about a potential swap for the Titans’ other first-round pick at 26. Douglas had only one line in the sand: the Jets owned two early second-round picks, and he wanted to keep at least one of them, to eventually draft Iowa State running back Breece Hall. Johnson fell right into their laps at 26, and the Jets had their three Day 1-selections.
  • Unfortunately for the Patriots, Becton won’t be the only AFC East player missing voluntary workouts this month as veteran running back James White is still recovering from the hip injury that ended his 2022 season in a Week 3 loss to the Saints, according to Mike Reiss of ESPN. White was quoted at the team’s draft party, saying, “I still have a little while to go (after) a pretty rough injury.” Reiss points out that this is a golden opportunity for running back J.J. Taylor to show he has what it takes to take over White’s role.

Patriots Re-Sign James White

The Patriots have re-signed veteran running back James White (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero). The deal, which will be formally inked on Wednesday, is a two-year pact worth $5MM. White will also get $500K guaranteed as a part of the deal. 

Even though he’s at the age of 30, White has matched his previous annual value on the nose. The Patriots re-upped White on a one-year, $2.5MM deal last year, retaining the longtime Patriots passing-down back for yet another season. Unfortunately, a hip injury capped his 2021 at just three games.

Part of the three 2010s Patriots Super Bowl-winning teams, White has been an essential part of the Pats’ offense for most of his career. Succeeding the likes of Kevin Faulk, Danny Woodhead and Shane Vereen as Bill Belichick-era passing-down backs, White is now set to come back for a ninth New England season and, perhaps, a tenth, depending on how things go from here.

White posted 994 all-purpose yards in 2019, but saw less time in 2020, his last healthy season. Still, White had 49 grabs for 375 yards and a touchdown that year to lead all Pats RBs in receiving.

Minor NFL Transactions: 10/1/21

Here are Friday’s minor moves:

Detroit Lions

Houston Texans

Los Angeles Chargers

New England Patriots

Tennessee Titans

Patriots RB James White Out For Season

James White received bad injury news Wednesday. The longtime Patriots passing-down back is expected to miss the rest of the season, according to Field Yates and Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter).

The veteran outlet option suffered a hip injury during the Pats’ Week 3 loss to the Saints and was set to be out indefinitely. The timetable clarity will knock him out until 2022, when he is no longer under contract with New England. White, 29, is set for unrestricted free agency in March.

Part of the three 2010s Patriots Super Bowl-winning teams, White has been an essential part of the Pats’ offense for most of his career. Succeeding the likes of Kevin FaulkDanny Woodhead and Shane Vereen as Bill Belichick-era passing-down backs, White signed a one-year, $2.5MM deal to stay with the team this offseason. The veteran’s hip injury stands to cloud his future, though given his value in New England, a fourth White-Pats agreement would not surprise.

Cam Newton‘s year at the helm resulted in a production dip for White, who emerged on the Buccaneers’ radar before they brought in Giovani Bernard to be Tom Brady‘s third-down option. But this is still a big loss for the Pats, who have used White in this role since 2015. White totaled 908 scrimmage yards in 2019, helping the Patriots compensate for a depleted receiving corps, and is obviously best known for scoring three TDs to aid the 2016 squad’s historic comeback in Super Bowl LI.

The team has second-year backs Rhamondre Stevenson and J.J. Taylor, along with longtime special-teamer Brandon Bolden on its roster. The Patriots have not used starter Damien Harris (10 career catches) much in the passing game and allowed veteran Rex Burkhead to defect to the Texans earlier this year.

Patriots’ James White Out Indefinitely

Patriots running back James White has been diagnosed with a subluxation of the hip (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport). The injury will shelve him indefinitely so, at minimum, he’ll be placed on the short-term injured reserve list. 

White, 29, was quickly forced out of Sunday’s loss to the Saints. Through three games (really, two games), the veteran has 12 catches for 94 yards plus ten carries for 38 yards and one score. After registering 25 touchdown catches for New England between 2014-2020, White was expected to see an increase in touches throughout the year. Now, everything’s up in the air for the pass-catching back.

White has only taken the field for the Patriots since entering the league as a fourth-round pick. More than just a valuable third-down tailback, he’s also a longstanding team captain. After tallying 994 all-purpose yards in 2019, he saw less time in 2020. Still, White had 49 grabs for 375 yards and a touchdown to lead all Pats RBs in receiving.

The Pats are now left with four running backs on the 53-man roster: Damien Harris, J.J. Taylor, rookie Rhamondre Stevenson, and Brandon Bolden.

AFC East Notes: Diggs, Patriots, Jets

Cole Beasley gutted through a tough injury in the playoffs with his broken fibula, and he wasn’t the only Bills receiver to do so. Buffalo star Stefon Diggs recently revealed he had a torn oblique that he played through at the end of the season, as Ryan Talbot of NewYorkUpState.com writes. Diggs was on the injury report with an oblique issue late in the year, but the team was intentionally vague about what was wrong with him.

Now we know, and it makes Diggs’ playoff performances even more impressive. He shined during the postseason, going for at least 106 yards and a touchdown in each of the Bills’ wins over the Colts and Ravens. It’s a pretty significant injury, but obviously it shouldn’t effect Diggs in 2021.

Here are a couple other nuggets from around the AFC East:

  • James White ended up back with the Patriots on a one-year, $2.5MM deal after testing the free agent waters, and it sounds like he was anticipating a bit more. After hearing White talk to the media this week, Mike Reiss of ESPN.com writes that it “seems fair to say free agency didn’t unfold the way he might have envisioned.” In describing his “soft market,” Reiss says White highlighted the league’s salary cap crunch as a result of COVID-19. He adds it “sounded like that was the best offer,” the pass-catching specialist received, so he didn’t take any discount to play for Bill Belichick again.
  • The Jets just drafted Jamien Sherwood in the fifth-round, and he could be set to make a bigger impact than your typical fifth-round rookie. Sherwood was a linebacker/safety hybrid prospect, but Rich Cimini of ESPN.com writes that the Jets “see him as an ideal fit as a weakside linebacker in their 4-3 front” and that “there’s some thought he could emerge as the starter.” Cimini says Sherwood’s draft stock was hurt by the fact that he ran a disappointing 4.74 40-yard dash at his pro day. Sherwood only became a full-time starter for Auburn this past season, his junior campaign, so it’ll be a big leap if he becomes an NFL starter right away.

Buccaneers To Sign Giovani Bernard

There’s been a lot of talk this offseason about what the Buccaneers’ backfield will look like between Ronald Jones and Leonard Fournette, but in the meantime they’ve added an outside option.

Tampa has agreed to a one-year deal with Giovani Bernard, Tom Pelissero of NFL Network tweets. Bernard was released by the Bengals just last week, and Pelissero reports that Tom Brady and Bruce Arians both helped recruit him to Tampa Bay. Patriots running back James White apparently had interest in joining the Bucs as their third-down back before ultimately re-signing in New England, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network tweets.

In the same tweet, Rapsheet notes that Bernard also had interest from the Chiefs, so he had his pick of last season’s Super Bowl teams. The Bucs have mostly prioritized locking up all of their own guys, and this is their first significant outside free agent signing of the spring.

He had been set to earn right around $4MM in Cincy in 2021, so it’ll be interesting to see if he beat that when we get the financial terms. A pass-catching specialist who ended up carrying the ball a lot this past year in the wake of Joe Mixon‘s injury, Bernard has 342 receptions for 2,867 yards since entering the league as a second-round pick in 2013.

The North Carolina product spent his first eight seasons with the Bengals. He’ll turn 30 in November, and he should see a lot of targets from Brady, who loves to check down to his ‘backs.

Patriots To Re-Sign James White

Running back James White is expected to re-sign with the Patriots, as Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com tweets. The versatile RB with 25 touchdown catches since 2014 back in the fold for New England.

On his latest Patriots contract, White will earn $2.5MM, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. It’s a one-year deal. This marks White’s third deal with the Pats, who most recently signed him for three years and $12MM back in 2017. He played an essential role on each of New England’s past two Super Bowl-winning teams.

White, 29, came into the league as a fourth-round pick of the Patriots in 2014 and that’s where he’s been ever since. He’s not just a valuable third-down tailback — he’s also a longstanding team captain. After tallying 994 all-purpose yards in 2019, he saw less time in 2020. Still, White had 49 grabs for 375 yards and a touchdown to lead all Pats RBs in receiving.

The Patriots received a promising season from 2019 third-round pick Damien Harris last season; White figures to return to his role complementing the emerging back. Sony Michel is entering a contract year, though Rex Burkhead is a free agent. It would stand to reason the Pats are not done at this position this offseason.

Extra Points: Steelers, Patriots, Seahawks

Cornerback Mike Hilton doesn’t plan to immediately sign his exclusive rights free agent tender as he waits for a new, long-term deal from the Steelers, per Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com (Twitter link). As an exclusive rights free agent, Hilton has no leverage with Pittsburgh: he can either accept a minimum salary pact from the Steelers, or decide not to play football in 2019. ERFAs and restricted free agents do hold one advantage over other young players who were drafted, however, as they can receive extensions after only two seasons (drafted players must wait at least three years). One of the better slot corners in the league, Hilton has appeared in 31 games over the past two seasons, posting three interceptions and five sacks during that span. He doesn’t plan to miss any offseason work as he pushes for a new contract, per Fowler.

Here’s more from around the NFL:

  • Running back James White and defensive tackle Lawrence Guy each missed out on playtime/performance bonus thresholds in 2018, but the Patriots have decided to pay each player his bonus anyway, as Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets. White will collect a $250K bonus, which he would have earned by reaching 1,200 total yards (he managed 1,176), per Ben Volin of the Boston Globe. Meanwhile, Guy needed to play 50% of New England’s defensive snaps for his own $250K bonus, but fell three snaps short. Together, the bonuses will add $500K to the Patriots’ salary cap, but New England can feel secure in rewarding its players. The Pats did the same thing for Guy in 2018 when he barely failed to earn a $500K bonus.
  • Doug Baldwin has already had knee and shoulder surgeries this offseason, and the veteran Seahawks receiver may have to go under the knife yet again. Appearing on Sports Radio KJR, Baldwin indicated he’s likely to require another operation in the coming months (Twitter link via Curtis Crabtree of KJR). In April, Baldwin is expected to travel to Philadelphia to meet with a specialist regarding a possible sports hernia, tweets Mike Garafolo of NFL.com. Baldwin, 30, missed three games with a knee issue in 2018 and didn’t appear fully healthy once he returned to action.
  • Free agent Jake Fisher will work out as a tight end for the Redskins on Thursday, tweets John Keim of ESPN.com. A second-round pick of the Bengals as an offensive tackle in 2015, Fisher is now attempting to convert to a skill position, and is reportedly down to 285 pounds. Fisher, who played tight end in high school, has been limited by injuries and ineffectiveness throughout his career, and has started just 12 games in four years. He auditioned for the Texans last week.