One of the most high profile free agents is off the board, and the Chiefs have made a big splash. Kansas City is signing guard Joe Thuney to a five-year deal, his agent Mike McCartney announced on Twitter.
Details soon trickled in, with Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweeting that the five-year pact is worth a whopping $80MM. The first two years are fully guaranteed at $32.5MM, and while the third year is initially only guaranteed for injury it becomes fully guaranteed in year two, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network tweets. As such, he writes that $48MM of the deal is “practically guaranteed.”
Patrick Mahomes was running for his life during this past Super Bowl, and the Chiefs immediately set out to aggressively remake the offensive line. They cut both of their starting tackles, Eric Fisher and Mitchell Schwartz, and are expected to let starting center Austin Reiter walk in free agency.
At $16MM annually, Thuney is now the highest-paid guard in the league. Thuney was highly sought after, and we heard the Jets were preparing a push for the former Patriot. A third-round pick back in 2016, Thuney immediately became a starter in New England and has started all 80 possible games since entering the league.
That kind of durability must’ve been attractive to a Chiefs team that saw their O-line decimated by injuries last year. Thuney was a second-team All-Pro in 2019, and is one of the league’s best interior linemen. He has versatility, and started a couple of games at center for the Patriots in 2020.
Despite landing one of the big fishes on the market, Kansas City likely isn’t going to stop here with addressing Mahomes’ blockers. They’re also set to host the recently un-retired Kyle Long this week.
The Pats franchise tagged Thuney last offseason, but never got a long-term deal done. Minimal progress had been made right up until the point New England traded for Trent Brown, although Albert Breer of SI.com writes that “lines of communication” had recently reopened and that the Patriots had expressed interest in keeping Thuney.
Obviously nothing got done, and despite New England’s free-wheeling spending so far, Thuney got priced out of their range. It’s a big upgrade for the Chiefs.
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