Call them the Comeback Captains.
James White, one of the top pass-catching running backs in the NFL, and Lawrence Guy, the Patriots’ most versatile defensive lineman, have agreed to new deals with New England, a league source confirmed Wednesday afternoon.
A three-time team captain, White will sign a one-year contract worth a fully guaranteed $2.5 million. Guy, a captain for the first time in 2020, is receiving a four-year pact, the financials of which weren’t immediately known.
They are the latest of New England’s in-house free agents to re-sign, joining fellow captain David Andrews, Deatrich Wise, Justin Bethel, Cody Davis, and Nick Folk.
Long one of the league’s most dependable and durable players, White has amassed 369 catches for 3,184 yards and 25 touchdowns in seven seasons with the Patriots. He’s also rushed 309 times for 1,240 yards and 10 TDs since being drafted in the fourth round in 2014 out of Wisconsin.
An extremely popular player among his teammates and coaches, White barely played his rookie season as he learned New England’s offense and developed his receiving skills after being used primarily as a runner in college.
He morphed into one of Tom Brady’s most trusted targets and safety valves over the next five seasons. A three-time Super Bowl champion, White also developed into a solid blocker who can read defenses and pick up blitzers. Another quality that will endear you to your quarterback.
“James White is like my oldest son, he does everything right,’’ Brady once said. “You can’t ever get mad at him. I’m so proud of him.’’
White’s most memorable performance came on the biggest stage when he collected 11 catches for 110 yards and a touchdown and also rushed for the winning score in overtime in New England’s historic 34-28 comeback win over the Falcons in Super Bowl LI in 2017.
“He’s always been a very hard worker, a very diligent guy, knows his assignments very, very well. Asks questions like a coach would ask them,” Bill Belichick said in 2018. “He has an ability to think really far ahead of what problems could occur on certain fronts or looks or what have you. He does a great job of that.’’
White, 29, lost his father, Tyrone, in an automobile accident in South Florida last September. His mother, Lisa, was seriously injured in the crash and White said late in the season that she was steadily recovering.
White is the leader of a running back corps that includes Brandon Bolden, Sony Michel, Damien Harris, and J.J. Taylor. It’s possible the club could also bring back free agent Rex Burkhead, who tore his ACL against the Texans last November.
“I can’t even put into words how much you can learn from a guy like James White,’’ Harris said in December. “James White is definitely a guy you can say, ‘Yeah, I want to be like James White when I grow up.’ ’’
When news of White’s re-signing leaked, Harris was among the first teammates to weigh in on social media, tweeting, “YESSIR, big bro is back!!”
In four seasons in New England, Guy has collected 235 tackles and seven sacks as his role has continued to expand. He played through multiple injuries last season, including knee, ankle, and shoulder woes — a feat that didn’t go unnoticed by his teammates and coaches.
“He is physically and mentally one of the tougher players that I’ve coached,’’ Belichick said in November. “He’s a great example to younger players in terms of just having the mental toughness to go out there and compete and work every day. That’s how you get better.’’
As Guy’s defensive responsibilities expanded, so did his leadership and respect in the locker room.
“Everybody looks up to him, as they should, because of the example he sets and in the way he carries himself,” added Belichick. “He’s not a real loud guy or a guy who says a lot, but when he talks, everybody listens and he’s on the money, and he has a great message because it’s always about the team and how to help the team win.’’