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Patriots re-sign running back James White to two-year deal

James White's return helps solidify running back as a position of strength for the Patriots.Jim Davis/Globe Staff

The Patriots agreed to terms with running back James White, retaining another veteran leader this offseason.

White is signing a two-year, $5 million deal, according to a league source. The contract includes incentives as well as $500,000 of guaranteed money. White’s 2022 salary cap number is a team-friendly $1.52 million. His cap hit will jump to $2.5 million in 2023.

White is coming off a season-ending hip subluxation, which limited him to just three games last year. White caught 12 passes for 94 yards and added 38 rushing yards. In 14 games in 2020, he totaled 121 yards and two touchdowns on the ground, along with 49 receptions for 375 receiving yards.


Veteran Brandon Bolden stepped up in his absence last season, but White’s presence as a versatile, pass-catching back was missed. He’s also competent in blitz pickup.

“He’s an outstanding route-runner and playmaker in the passing game, very productive,” running backs coach Ivan Fears said in September. “James is also extremely smart, very aware, and consistent in his blitz pickup, as far as knowing who to go to, who to pick up, and how to read the defenses. His experience level in that stuff is through the roof.”

Quarterback Mac Jones, too, spoke highly of White, calling him a “big role model.”

“I think James is a great player, but he’s also a good person,” Jones said in September. “He does everything right all the time. It seems like he just goes about his business. He comes into work every day. It’s not like he’s cutting any corners short because he’s an older player and knows it all. He continues to work.”

White’s return helps the Patriots solidify running back as a position of strength, with Damien Harris and Rhamondre Stevenson both under contract through 2023 as well. J.J. Taylor is signed through 2022, while Bolden remains unsigned as a free agent.


James White is back for another season in Foxborough.Jim Davis/Globe Staff

White, who turned 30 in February, also provides leadership, which could be particularly beneficial this year because Fears is expected to retire. New England has Vinnie Sunseri on staff as an assistant running backs coach.

The Patriots have re-signed three of last season’s captains in White, safety Devin McCourty, and special teams ace Matthew Slater. Linebacker Dont’a Hightower, another captain, remains an unrestricted free agent.

Ben Volin of the Globe staff contributed to this report.

Nicole Yang can be reached at nicole.yang@globe.com.Follow her @nicolecyang.