Packers: James White would be the perfect complement to AJ Dillon

James White (Photo by Billie Weiss/Getty Images)
James White (Photo by Billie Weiss/Getty Images) /

The Green Bay Packers must find a relief pitcher for AJ Dillon if they decide to let Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams walk this offseason.

The NFL proves year in and year out that having a high-paid, bell cow, every-down RB is not essential to success in the league. Sure, it helps, but with a decreased salary cap heading into 2021, and the Packers already a little over that cap, paying Aaron Jones top-five money at the position may prove to be a mistake.

As for Jamaal Williams, while he isn’t going to get high-end RB1 money, at just 25 years old he won’t be a cheap option for Green Bay either.

Enter James White. The pending free agent was a fourth-round pick in 2014 and has spent all seven of his NFL seasons in New England. During his time there, White has always been a part of a RB committee. In fact, he has never finished a season in the top 32 in rushing attempts.

If the Packers opt to move on from both Jones and Williams this offseason, AJ Dillon is set to take the reins in his second year. But, of course, he can’t do it all on his own. Here’s where White can help the Packers in 2021:

Receiving ability

Throughout his entire career, James White has been viewed as a receiving back. It’s his specialty. He has had more receiving yards than rushing yards in every season in New England apart from his very first.

At 250 pounds, Dillon’s ability to get out of the backfield and get involved in the passing game is very much unknown. He only caught three passes for 34 yards in his rookie season. As for his time at Boston College, Dillon caught just 21 passes over three seasons… meanwhile he carried the rock 842 times!

It’s clear that Dillon is always going to be an old-school, run first, up-the-gut RB. White is the complete opposite, and thus, the perfect backfield companion for “Quadzilla”.

Pass protection

Dillon’s pass protection ability also remains somewhat unknown. Jones and Williams carried out practically all pass-pro duties this season.

White has always been regarded as an above average pass blocker ever since he entered the league. Bill Belichick and the Patriots are renowned for maximizing each back’s blocking talent. However White had an unexpected fall-off in 2020, struggling greatly in protection for the first time in his career.

Pass protection is an essential piece of Matt LaFleur’s offense and if the Packers sign White, they’ll be hoping that last season was more of an anomaly, and not a downward trend.


Of the four running backs under contract with the Green Bay Packers next year, none of them are over the age of 24. Per Pro Football Reference, they have combined for just 74 total NFL snaps. Meanwhile James White has 3,000 total snaps in his seven-year career.

As much as we’d love one to add a promising mid-round rookie RB, you’re simply just adding another player with no NFL experience. A veteran presence like the 29-year-old White can offer so much more off the field by helping to teach the younger players in the room with him.

White has been there and done that. As a three-time Super Bowl Champion, White has performed on the biggest stage there is. Let’s not forget he almost won MVP of Super Bowl LI for his spectacular role in the Patriots’ heroic comeback from a 28-3 deficit.

Cost effective

Per Spotrac, White’s market value sits right around 20th in the league, which is relatively low considering the NFL’s RB1 position is dominated by smaller rookie contracts.

It’s projected that White’s next contract will only have a cap hit of around $3 million in 2021. For reference, the Packers just freed up around $10 million with the releases of Rick Wagner and Christian Kirksey, so White is right in their price range.


White himself told Mark Daniels of The Providence Journal, “I still have plenty of good football left in me. I’m excited about being more productive next season.”

With Damien Harris and Sony Michel holding down the backfield in New England, White would likely find having 30-50 percent of the snap share in Green Bay as a more prosperous gig in 2021.

I think this is a slam-dunk move that the majority of Green Bay Packers fans are sleeping on. Out of all the guys available in free agency, White probably makes the most sense for GM Brian Gutekunst.

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