It sounds like the Jets could be preparing to make a big splash in free agency. When the negotiating period opens tomorrow, one of New York GM Joe Douglas’ “first calls” will be to Joe Thuney‘s reps, sources told Connor Hughes of The Athletic (Twitter link).
Thuney is one of the highlights of what has turned out to be a really solid free agent offensive line class. After franchise tagging him last season, the Patriots recently opted not to hit him with a second consecutive tag that would’ve paid him almost $18MM in 2021. Hughes writes that the Jets “love his versatility, reliability & the fact he’s spent entire career in winning culture.” As he also points out, they’ll face competition for his services.
Offensive line has been a weak spot for the Jets for years, and after drafting Mekhi Becton 11th overall last year, signing one of the priority free agents like Thuney would show Douglas is serious about solving the issue once and for all. A relatively unheralded third-round pick back in 2016, Thuney blossomed into one of the league’s best guards in New England.
He was a second-team All-Pro in 2019 and has been remarkably consistent and durable, starting all 80 possible games since getting drafted. The NC State product was a major part of the Patriots’ last two Super Bowl wins.
As Hughes alluded to, Thuney is quite versatile, as he filled in at center for a couple of games this past year and also played tackle in college. If he does opt to stay in the AFC East and sign with the Jets, who he’ll be blocking for will still very much be an open question.
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