Top Five Patriots Stories Of The Week

James White and David Andrews are back, plus three other big Pats stories.
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Most of the past week was spent introducing (and in some cases re-introducing) the Patriots’ dozen or so free-agent signees to the media.

That doesn’t mean it wasn’t a big week for news.

So here in no particular order are the biggest Pats stories of the past week:

1. James White returns

When the running back hit free agency without re-signing with the Pats, it seemed like he was a goner and New England was going to have to import someone to replace him.

And then White was back.

White had 49 receptions for 375 yards and one touchdown, and he ran for 121 yards and two touchdowns last season. With the Pats’ offense bulked up at tight end and receiver through the signings of Jonnu Smith, Hunter Henry, Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne, White might see his production increase as teams work to take away those other options.

The Patriots seem content to retain their running back corps of White, Sony Michel, Damien Harris and Brandon Bolden, which might be the way to go.

2. Andrews becomes official

Just when you thought the Pats’ signing of Ted Karras meant the end of the long reign of David Andrews as New England’s center, Andrews re-signed and took a team-friendly deal to stay.

Now the Pats’ depth on the offensive line is ridiculous, with Andrews, Karras, Isaiah Wynn, Michael Onewenu, Shaq Mason and the returning Trent Brown leading the way.

3. Stidham camp

Whether you think Jarrett Stidham could be the Pats’ No. 1 quarterback doesn’t matter. He obviously thinks he can win the job and he got a head start last week by inviting at least seven receivers and tight ends to work out with him in California last week. That’s a sign he might be able to lead the Pats one day, or at least he might become attractive to another team in a trade if the extra work turns into game performance.

4. Kraft speaks

What motivated the Pats to jump into free agency more aggressively than ever before?

Well owner Bob Kraft had this to say this week:

“It was a chance for us to recharge. We’ve never done anything like this in all the years I’ve owned the team. So what we did, as we were competing for new players, normally in free agency, you’ll have 10 or 12 teams going after it. Here, we had two or three. I just want to compliment our staff, our organization, Bill [Belichick], all the scouting and personnel people, for a real team effort. Look, we’re not going to know till the fall — we always used to make fun of the people who won the headlines in March — but here I believe we really improved our team.”

5. Jimmy G. possibly hitting the trade market

There have been rumors all season San Francisco is planning to release or trade Jimmy Garoppolo. Now it appears those whispers are closer to reality because the 49ers traded up for the No. 3 pick in next month’s draft -- with the intent of selecting a new quarterback.

Would the Patriots be in the mix? It sure sounds so. That is, if they don’t trade up themselves to grab a new QB, which would be against the trends of their history. But you never know.