Beyond the Big 3: Tracy White

Melina Vastola/US Presswire

Much of the attention around pending Patriots free agents has been paid to Wes Welker, Aqib Talib and Sebastian Vollmer, three of the team's critical starters. But the Patriots have a number of other free agents who could hit the open market on March 12, and we'll use this space to review them and recap their 2012 season.

Player: Tracy White

Position: Linebacker

Key 2012 stats: 11 games played, 1 start, 11 tackles

Playing time (defense): 71 of 1,112 snaps (6.4 percent)

2012 season recap: White's role in 2012 was what he has made a living off of in the NFL: being a core special teams player with good movement skills in open space to play as a coverage player on kickoffs and punts. He played a minimal defensive role in sub packages, but his greatest value is rooted in his special teams contributions.

Outlook: White is the kind of free agent that won't draw much attention publicly but has value to many teams. Core special teams players are important to identify, and White has enough ability to be a spot-duty defensive contributor as well. He's a well-respected veteran that seems like a good fit in New England.

Projection: Re-signed for 1-year, $950,000. He's an under-the-radar contributor, but the Patriots have always valued special teamers. White could come back on a deal similar to the one he signed last offseason and make 2014 his fourth with the Patriots.