Patriots

White emerges as Brady's go-to guy late vs. Eagles

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White emerges as Brady's go-to guy late vs. Eagles

FOXBORO - If there's one positive to come out of all the injuries that the Patriots have sustained on offense, it's the emergence of James White as a capable pass-catching back.

Just how out of the picture was White when it came to his role on the Patriots offense at one point this season? Well, when Dion Lewis blew out his ACL in Week 9 against the Redskins, White wasn't available to fill-in for him for that game because he was a healthy scratch.

Drafted in the fourth round last season, White had little to no effect on the team's performance, dressing for just three regular season games in his rookie season. His second year wasn't a whole lot better to start. Though White was active in more games, he still wasn't getting much of an opportunity to contribute.

But the season-ending injury to Lewis has changed things, and though it's taken a few games, White had a breakout game on Sunday against the Eagles.

He finished with 10 receptions for 115 yards and a touchdown, and proved to be a big factor in the team's fourth-quarter comeback attempt.

Consider that White came into the game with 17 receptions for 118 yards in his career, the 115-yard performance is a bit of a pleasant surprise.

The 115 yards is the fourth-most receiving yards in Patriots history by a running back, and second-highest since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger (trailing Shane Vereen's 153 yards vs. Cleveland on Dec. 8, 2013). His 10 catches tied him for the fifth-most by a running back in team history, too.

White's touchdown came in the second quarter and put the Patriots on the board first, as Tom Brady hit him with an easy four-yard throw near the right sideline.

But it was his seven catches in the fourth quarter spanning the Patriots' three drives that told the story. Brady looked to White more than any other receiver in that quarter, and that includes two fourth-down conversions. There's undoubtedly a higher level of trust between the quarterback and the running back now than there was earlier in the season.

"He did a great job," Brady said of White. "He really came up big for us when we needed it a few times on fourth down tonight, made some big plays in the pass-game, was good in protection. He's done a great job for us. He's got a significant role. We'll need him all the way down the stretch here."

The Patriots aren't in the business of silver linings, but having White as another option at Brady's disposal when Rob Gronkowski and Julian Edelman return could be a game-changer once the playoffs come around.

NFL Rumors: Patriots free up millions in cap space from Antonio Brown, Aaron Hernandez grievances

NFL Rumors: Patriots free up millions in cap space from Antonio Brown, Aaron Hernandez grievances

The New England Patriots just got whole lot of financial breathing room.

The Patriots have earned a total of $6.25 million in settlements from compensation grievances involving former wide receiver Antonio Brown and ex-tight end Aaron Hernandez, ESPN's Mike Reiss and Field Yates reported Saturday.

New England now has $7.79 million in cap space, per Reiss and Yates, a huge bump from the less than $500,000 in spending money the team had earlier this week.

Brown, who spent less than two weeks with the Patriots last September, filed a grievance against the team in October 2019 following his release seeking to receive his unpaid Week 1 salary, his $1.025 million guaranteed base salary and his $9 million signing bonus.

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The Patriots will pay Brown $5 million as part of the settlement, per Reiss and Yates.

The NFL Players Association filed a grievance against the Patriots on Hernandez's behalf in October 2013 seeking over $6 million in guaranteed salary. Hernandez was arrested and later convicted for the 2013 murder of Odin Lloyd and died in prison in April 2017.

New England was up against the cap after squeezing free-agent quarterback Cam Newton in on a one-year contract and inking all of its 2020 NFL Draft picks to rookie deals. With nearly $8 million in cap space, however, the Patriots have more flexibility to bolster their roster via free agency or trade.

Our Patriots Insider Tom E. Curran suggested tight end David Njoku could be a strong fit in New England after requesting a trade from the Cleveland Browns, and there are a number of quality free agents still on the market, as well.

Patriots TE Devin Asiasi joins Cam Newton, N'Keal Harry for workouts

Patriots TE Devin Asiasi joins Cam Newton, N'Keal Harry for workouts

Twelve days ago, Cam Newton was still a free agent looking for work.

But ever since he agreed to a one-year contract with the Patriots, he's been very busy trying to get ready for the 2020 season, learning the playbook and developing chemistry with his new receivers.

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In addition to N'Keal Harry, whose workout with Newton was captured on video, rookie tight end Devin Asiasi was also catching passes from New England's new quarterback. Twitter user amirmehrtash15 took pictures with both Asiasi and Newton at the UCLA practice session and posted them in reponse to the Providence Journal's Mark Daniels.

The workout wasn't limited to Patriots, as Browns wideout Odell Beckham Jr. was also in attendance.

Newton trying to fast-track a relationship with his new teammates makes perfect sense. He set up his first practice with Mohamed Sanu on the day he signed his Patriots contract, and in less than two weeks, he's already connected with three of the guys who will be among his top receiving options in 2020.

The Patriots certainly hope all that extra work pays off, as training camps could open as soon as the end of this month once the NFL and NFLPA can finalize preseason dates.