James White‘s very excellent 2017 continued on Tuesday night as Adam Schefter reported that White had inked a three year extension with the Patriots, a deal that will keep him on the team through 2020.
Super-Bowl hero James White and Patriots reached agreement on 3-year extension, tying him to New England for 4 years, per league source.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) April 18, 2017
I’m still pretty flabbergasted by White’s progress over his first three seasons. Couldn’t get on the field as a rookie, was a passing-down only back in 2015 who had just five receptions on 16 targets in the AFC Championship loss and then, in year three, he just keeps getting better all year long until he caps it all off by doing just what we thought he never could do — plow his way into the endzone through multiple tacklers to win the Super Bowl in overtime.
White is a classic example of the power of good coaching and giving players time to develop in the system. He seemed one dimensional for his first two seasons, and while he’s still far more dangerous as a pass catcher, he’s improved and rounded out his game to place where the Patriots did something rare — they gave him an extension.
James White’s 60 receptions were also the most by a Patriots RB since Leroy Thompson (65) in 1994.
— Mark Daniels (@MarkDanielsPJ) April 18, 2017
Both Danny Woodhead and Shane Vereen bridged the gap after Kevin Faulk retired, but it was only White who got a new deal. Perhaps the money has something to do with it. It will be hard to have full context before seeing the numbers, but the Patriots clearly are excited to move forward with White.
Another surprising element of this is how it affects Dion Lewis. The Patriots have still never lost with Lewis in the lineup and he looked like the second coming of Barry Sanders in 2015 before tearing his ACL. The Pats moved quickly after Lewis’ hot start to extend him another two seasons. Now Lewis is entering his last year and it would appear that he’ll need a fully healthy and electric season to get another deal out of the team like White just did.
Always good to add some stability, especially at a position where it seemed like everyone was on one-year deals. Congrats to White, who will suddenly be beloved and tenured as the Pats open the 2017 season.