Re-signing James White would be good step toward helping Mac Jones

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Brandon Bolden filled in admirably for an injured James White last year. But while White’s absence led to career-highs in receptions (41) and receiving yards (405) for Bolden, it was clear the Patriots missed the stability that No. 28 brings to the offense on third downs.

The hip subluxation White suffered in week four against the Saints cost him the rest of his 2021 campaign, but assuming he’s healthy for 2022, it would be a wise decision to reintegrate him back into the offense this season, especially as it pertains to development of second-year quarterback Mac Jones. The Patriots offense is at its best when it has that reliable third down option out of the backfield. Faulk. Woodhead. Vereen. Lewis. White. The list goes on and on and the team should prioritize giving Jones that ‘binkie’ option to propel his development.

Internally, Bolden himself is in need of a new contract and J.J. Taylor, who running backs coach Ivan Fears compared to Lewis just last season, failed to earn meaningful snaps and appeared in only five games despite White’s injury. Neither of the early-down backs – Damien Harris and Rhamondre Stevenson – appear to be options in the passing game. Harris was targeted just 21 times and Stevenson only 18 a season ago.

On the upcoming free agency front, Leonard Fournette caught 69 passes for the Bucs a year ago, but do you want to pay a run-first back and cut into Harris and Stevenson’s carries? Ditto for James Conner and Chase Edmonds.

There really is no true pass catching back in this year’s free agency class, which helps the argument for White’s return.

White’s injury is no joke, especially as he enters his age-30 season. He’s forever entrenched in Patriots’ history, but the argument can be made that now may be the time to pass the torch. History suggests the team will look towards the draft to bolster the group, as they have so many times in recent years, but even White himself wasn’t a factor until his second season.

So, when you consider the alternative options, one more short-term deal for White makes sense.

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