James White has been of the Patriots’ top two pass catchers each of the last three seasons, serving as the team’s primary third-down running back. Adrian Kraus/Associated Press

The New England Patriots have agreed to re-sign running back James White to a 1-year deal, according to multiple reports Wednesday.

White, 29, has played the entirety of his seven-year career in New England, serving most of that time as the Patriots’ primary third-down back.

White’s 2020 season was marred by the unexpected loss of his father in a September car accident that also hospitalized his mother. He missed two games to be with his family, but still ranked second on the team with 49 receptions. White had 72 catches and five TDs in 2019 (plus one rushing TD), and scored 12 touchdowns in 2018, when he led the team with 87 receptions and finished with 1,176 total yards – receiving and rushing.

White rejoins a running backs group that includes Damien Harris, Sony Michel, Brandon Bolden and J.J. Taylor. Harris, who became the Patriots’ lead back in 2020, vocalized his admiration for White late in the season.

“I can’t even put into words how much you can learn from a guy like James White,” Harris said in December. “I really look up to him a lot. James White is definitely a guy you can say, ‘Yeah, I want to be like James White when I grow up.”

DAVON GODCHAUX had several reasons why the Patriots were a good fit for him once free agency began last week. The defensive tackle had played four years in Miami, including the last two for former Patriots defensive play caller Brian Flores. On top of that, he’s long admired Patriots legend Vince Wilfork, who he calls a mentor.

The 26-year-old also admired Bill Belichick. When the Patriots coach called Godchaux’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, and gushed about the defensive tackle’s ability, it became an easy decision for this 26-year-old to sign a two-year deal with the Patriots.

“Of course, I felt like I had to weigh out all of my options, but it was a no-brainer for me because of the scheme,” Godchaux said. I played for Brian Flores in Miami so, it’s kind of the same scheme. I played this scheme in college too, so it was kind of a no-brainer for me. … I can play in any scheme, but I felt this scheme best fit my skill-set. And being able to be coached by arguably the greatest coach of all-time, that was a no-brainer.”

When free agency started, one of the Patriots’ biggest needs was to find a defensive tackle who could anchor the defensive line and help stop the run. Godchaux became the Patriots top target, signing on the first day of the NFL’s legal tampering period.

The 6-foot-3, 311 pounder was a starter for the last three seasons, his best in 2019 when he finished with 75 tackles, two sacks and seven quarterback hits.

Godchaux played against the Patriots plenty over the last four seasons but has been watching the team for longer than that. He’s visited with Wilfork in Southern Florida and said the former Patriot set the standard for what defensive tackles should be in New England.

“All the accolades, all the championships they won. That’s in the past, but the standard is already set high just by coming here,” Godchaux said. “I’m here to write my own legacy. Big Vince Wilfork, you know, can’t take for granted what he’s done for this program and what he has done for the NFL in general. He dominated the game at that position. So hopefully God blessed me to do the same thing to dominate as him at that position.”

After Godchaux signed with the Patriots, he talked with Andre Carter, who played for the Patriots in 2011 and 2013 and coached Godchaux for two seasons in Miami.

“Andre told me I would love this place,” said Godchaux. “He said it’s fit for me, I would love it, and I would thrive in the scheme.”

Godchaux played in only five games last season because of a biceps injury. He said he’s motivated and hopes to achieve new heights in Foxborough.

“I’m excited to get on the field and get back,” Godchaux said. “I had a biceps injury in Week 5 against San Fran in Miami. I’m just excited to get back. I feel like when I’m healthy, I’m one of the best nose tackles in the game.”

AFTER THE FINAL whistle blew during New England’s season-opening win over the Dolphins last season, there was some serious venom between Cam Newton and the Miami defense.

As trash talk was volleyed back and forth and players were separated, a Dolphins defender ripped at Newton’s chain and pulled it from his neck. Kyle Van Noy was also in the thick of that skirmish, and knows he’ll have to smooth things over with Newton after signing a two-year deal to return to New England – but he isn’t sweating it.

“Of course. Of course. I want to talk to Cam,” Van Noy said on a video conference call Wednesday. “I feel like me and Cam have similar mindsets and that’s to win. I’m excited to work with him. I’ve heard nothing but good things. I think everybody is going to be excited after hopefully we have dinner – I’ll pay for it – and just get to know each other better. I think it’s a good rivalry. Everybody knows everybody. People have played on both sides. So it’s going to be good.”

At the time, Newton admitted he was pretty irked.

“They were reaching for my chain and it kind of did get under my skin,” Newton said.

 


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