James White and the Buccaneers officially have a legitimate connection in free agency.
Everyone on the planet has known that the Buccaneers would make a run at free-agent running back James White during the offseason. White makes too much sense on paper to ignore, and the Bucs have finally made their interest in the veteran back official.
Adam Schefter Tweeted out yesterday that several teams reached out about White, one of which was the Buccaneers. Surprise surprise.
This should come as a shock to no one. Tom Brady and White have an incredibly successful history together, and a long one at that. The average shelf life for running backs in the NFL is shorter than most other positions, so the fact that White has made it through six seasons as a large contributor already puts him above most other players at his position.
James White would bridge a gap for the Buccaneers
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During his seven years in the NFL, White has 369 receptions on 497 targets for a career average catch rate of 74.2% to go along with 3,185 receiving yards, 25 touchdowns, and another ten touchdowns on the ground. White is the epitome of a consistent third-down back, and the Bucs could use his talents immediately.
As the rest of the NFL has shifted towards the modern running back, smaller, faster, and better through the air, the Bucs continue to feature backs like Ronald Jones, Leonard Fournette, and Peyton Barber in recent years.
Other than Barber, these backs are decent between the tackles, but they all suffered through the air. Jones and Fournette dropped enough passes for a career in 2020, and Fournette’s reliability as the primary third-down back during the Super Bowl run was questionable.
The Bucs need help on third-down, and no one on the roster can currently fill that role. Ke’Shawn Vaughn and Jones are the only two options remaining right now, and they will likely be the only two to stay on the team. Tampa Bay has to look elsewhere if they want to address this glaring need on their offense.
With Tom Brady locked in for the next two seasons and focused on another Super Bowl, it only makes sense to bring in one of Brady’s favorite targets from plenty of previous victories on the biggest stage.
Tampa Bay may also look towards the draft as a means to improve their running back situation, but James White, for a year or two, is hard to turn down at this juncture.
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