Joe Thuney

Patriots Made Late Push For Joe Thuney

Before Joe Thuney left for the Chiefs, the Patriots made a late push to keep him in New England, according to Ben Volin of the Boston Globe. In addition, the Bengals and Chargers were also in on the standout guard. 

[RELATED: Chiefs Sign Joe Thuney]

The Patriots shocked everyone by tagging Thuney last year. This time around, they opted against cuffing him again at a 20% increase, but they still tried to keep him with a multi-year offer. Ultimately, the Chiefs won out – they were the first team to put an offer on the table for Thuney and it proved to be the most lucrative of the bunch. The longtime starter is now tied to Kansas City for five years at a whopping $80MM. The first two years are fully guaranteed at $32.5MM. Meanwhile, Year 3 goes from guaranteed-for-injury to 100% guaranteed in 2022, so $48MM of the deal is effectively locked in. Thuney didn’t come cheap, but he’ll help to fortify a line that has lost starting tackles Eric Fisher and Mitchell Schwartz.

When Thuney went elsewhere, the Bengals pivoted towards lower cost moves, such as re-signing guard Quinton Spain. Unless they make a splashier signing like veteran Nick Easton, they’ll probably look to find a starter early on in the draft. Meanwhile, the Chargers managed to ink All-Pro center Corey Linsley and versatile lineman Matt Feiler, so Justin Herbert should be well protected.

In addition to those aforementioned teams, the Jets also tried to land Thuney. He’s long been a target of Gang Green – they were planning to make a big push for him last year, too, up until the Patriots kept him from the open market.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Chiefs To Sign Joe Thuney

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.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jets Interested In Corey Linsley, Joe Thuney

The Jets missed out on Kevin Zeitler and they won’t have an opportunity to speak with Andrew Norwell. However, they have two other interior linemen on their list. The Jets are expected to pursue center Corey Linsley and guard Joe Thuney, according to Rich Cimini of ESPN.com (Twitter link). 

The Jets were said to be keenly interested in Thuney last week with plans to call him bright and early on Monday morning. The Patriots declined to tag him again, making him an unfettered free agent. A second-team All-Pro in 2019 and a key part of the Patriots’ most recent Super Bowl wins, Thuney is regarded as one of the better guards in the NFL.

Linsley, meanwhile, was a First-Team All-Pro for his work with the Packers last season. It’s expected that he’ll approach or best Ryan Kelly‘s $12.4MM per-year average, so either player would be mighty costly for the Jets. Still, the offensive line is a long-standing need for Gang Green, so they’re willing to spend the big bucks.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jets To Pursue OL Joe Thuney

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.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Patriots Won’t Tag Joe Thuney

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. 

[RELATED: Raiders Trade Trent Brown To Patriots]

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.

Patriots, Joe Thuney Were Never Close To Extension

The Patriots surprised everyone last year when they used the franchise tag on Joe Thuney. Often times, the tag is used as a bridge towards an extension. But, in this case, the two sides have yet to make real progress. The Patriots have never been close on a multi-year deal with the standout guard, according to Jeff Howe of The Athletic

Thuney is set to reach the open market in March and Howe anticipates that he’ll seek something in the range of $14MM per year. A five-year, $70MM deal would position him as the highest-paid left guard in the NFL, besting Andrew Norwell‘s $66.5MM contract. Following the tag, Thuney played on one-year, $14.78MM deal in 2020.

Ideally, the Patriots would like to keep Thuney, but the numbers crunch might not allow for it. And, historically, the Patriots have been willing to let key free agents walk when the price gets too rich. They have a solid track record for drafting interior linemen, so they could theoretically let Thuney leave, boost their compensatory draft pick calculation, and replace him with someone younger/cheaper.

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.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

No Progress For Patriots, Joe Thuney

The Patriots aren’t expected to hammer out an extension with Joe Thuney before this afternoon’s deadline, according to Ian Rapoport and Michael Giardi of NFL.com (on Twitter). With that, the offensive guard is set to play on a one-year, $14.78MM deal. 

[RELATED: Patriots Open Cap Space After Settling Grievances]

The Patriots caught everyone off guard in March when they applied the franchise tag to Thuney. Even after that point, many believed that the tag was Step One towards a tag-and-trade. Instead, the Patriots tagged Thuney with the intention of keeping him and they had some talks with his camp about a multi-year arrangement.

Lately, there hasn’t been much momentum on that front. Frankly, it would be off-brand for the Patriots to pay top dollar for players as they approach free agency, and the current climate doesn’t help matters.

Thuney, 28 in November, has started in all 64 of his games for the Pats over the last three seasons. And, over the last two seasons, he’s graded out as one of the league’s five best offensive guards in the NFL, per Pro Football Focus’ advanced metrics.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Status Of All 15 Tagged Players Prior to July 15 Extension Deadline

The clock is ticking for tagged players to sign extensions with their teams, per the league calendar.

July 15: At 4:00 p.m., New York time, deadline for any club that designated a Franchise Player to sign such player to a multiyear contract or extension. After this date, the player may sign only a one-year contract with his prior club for the 2020 season, and such contract cannot be extended until after the club’s last regular season game.

With less than nine days remaining until the deadline, let’s take a look at where each of the 15 tagged players stand.

Already Signed Tag

*Received transition tag (vs. franchise tag)

Haven’t Signed Tag, Won’t Hold Out

Haven’t Signed Tag, Threatening Hold Out

Extra Points: Patriots, Jets, Carson

Denard Robinson is back in the NFL, this time as a coach. ESPN’s Field Yates reports (via Twitter) that the Jaguars have hired Robinson as an offensive quality control coach.

Following a standout career as Michigan’s quarterback, Robinson was selected by the Jaguars in the fifth round of the 2013 draft. The organization ended up transitioning him into a running back, and he ultimately spent four seasons with Jacksonville. His best season came in 2014, when he had 706 yards from scrimmage and four touchdowns.

The 29-year-old spent the 2019 season as an offensive analyst for the Jacksonville University football team.

Let’s check out some more notes from around the NFL…

  • While the Patriots would presumably like to sign Joe Thuney to an extension, ESPN’s Mike Reiss opines that the offensive lineman will end up playing next season on the franchise tag. As Reiss explains, Thuney has the leverage in negotiations, as he should be more-than-satisfied with his current one-year, $14.78MM deal. The reporter could see a scenario where the lineman signs a two-year deal that would buy the Patriots a bit of cap space for 2020, and Reiss believes that’s more realistic than Thuney getting traded or signing a long-term pact.
  • While Jamal Adams may already be saying farewell to some of his teammates, NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport believes the Jets will “stand pat” and let the situation play out (Twitter link). The safety has two years remaining on his contract, and that’s part of the reason why New York hadn’t felt any urgency in signing the former first-rounder to an extension.
  • Seahawks running back Chris Carson has signed with Octagon Football for representation, tweets Liz Mullen of Sports Business Daily. “From our perspective, he’s an elite running back in this league,” said agent Casey Muir. After averaging 1,190 rushing yards and eight touchdowns between the 2018 and 2019 seasons, Carson is set to hit free agency following the 2020 campaign.

Dolphins Rumors: Herbert, Tagovailoa, Thuney

With ~24 hours to go until the NFL Draft, the Dolphins have succeeded in their mission to confuse everyone in the football world. Here’s the latest on what the Dolphins might be thinking at No. 5, plus more from South Beach: