After taking on Trent Brown, the Patriots have decided against using the franchise tag on Joe Thuney (Twitter link via ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter). As a second-time tag, the offensive lineman would have been in line for about $17.7MM.
The Patriots stunned everyone last year by tagging Thuney. Historically, the Patriots have been comfortable with allowing high-priced free agents to walk and the league, for some reason, puts guards and tackles in the same category for the franchise tag. Still, they were willing to give Thuney “tackle money” on a one-year, ~$14.8MM deal.
Thuney, 29 in November, has started in all 80 of his games for the Pats over the last four seasons. In 2018 and 2019, he graded out as one of the five best offensive guards in the NFL, per Pro Football Focus’ advanced metrics. He slipped ever so slightly this past season, placing him at No. 10. With Thuney out of the picture, the Patriots will likely use Trent Brown at left tackle while shifting Isaiah Wynn to left guard.
On the open market, Thuney will likely seek something in the range of $14MM per annum. A five-year, $70MM deal would position him as the highest-paid left guard in the NFL, topping Andrew Norwell‘s $66.5MM deal.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.