Patriots Tag Joe Thuney

The Patriots will use the franchise tag on offensive lineman Joe Thuney, as agent Mike McCartney tweets. It’s a stunning move – few expected the Patriots to cuff Thuney given their tight cap situation and reluctance to spend on their own free agents.

The tag does not guarantee that the Patriots will keep Thuney. Instead, this could be step one towards a tag-and-trade scenario. The left guard is a four-year starter who has never missed a game. He also just turned 27 in November – other clubs would love to have an elite interior protector in his prime.

It’s important to note that the franchise tag is the same for all offensive linemen, meaning that Thuney is now slated to make $14.8MM for the 2020 season. That’s the kind of compensation that goes to top offensive tackles. Then again, the guard market is rapidly rising – former Giants draft bust Ereck Flowers, for example, could be in line for an incomprehensibly lucrative pay day. Better options, like Redskins standout Brandon Scherff, have already been spoken for.

Meanwhile, the Patriots are working to keep franchise star Tom Brady in New England. The Titans, thought to be one of his biggest potential suitors, exited the sweepstakes by extending Ryan Tannehill. The Niners, meanwhile, are likely to stand pat with his one-time backup Jimmy Garoppolo.

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