Joe Thuney

Final Transactions Before Super Bowl LVIII

FEBRUARY 11: McKinnon is a game time decision, but NFL Network’s James Palmer reports he is expected to play. Sunday’s contest would represent his first action since Week 14, but it would also mark an impressive recovery in relatively short order from his core muscle surgery. McKinnon is a pending free agent, and a strong performance would help his market on another Chiefs deal or one with a new team.

FEBRUARY 10: With the NFL’s season finale taking place tomorrow night, both participants have made their roster moves in anticipation of the biggest game of the year. The 49ers‘ moves are simple as they choose to promote defensive tackles Alex Barrett and T.Y. McGill as standard gameday elevations, per Matt Barrows of The Athletic. The Chiefs will make an elevation, as well, while also choosing to swap out an active roster player for a player off of injured reserve.

[Poll: Who Will Win Super Bowl LVIII?]

The Chiefs standard gameday practice squad elevation will once again be nose tackle Mike Pennel, who has been activated for each of Kansas City’s three playoff victories thus far. In the past, Pennel has been joined by practice squad cornerback Keith Taylor or defensive tackle Matt Dickerson, but it appears Pennel will be the lone practice squad defender activated for tomorrow.

As for the active roster addition, the Chiefs have made the move to officially activate running back Jerick McKinnon off of IR. The veteran rusher has mostly been a non-factor in the Chiefs offense this year but has served a role as the team’s backup pass-catching back. Despite the activation, McKinnon is still listed as questionable going into Sunday night’s game. In order to make room for McKinnon on the active roster, the Chiefs placed All-Pro guard Joe Thuney on IR. Thuney’s status was already known, so clearing him from the active roster should have little consequence at this point.

For San Francisco, Barrett and McGill are expected to be among the seven players listed as inactive for the big game. While this may make the elevations seem trivial, it’s the 49ers way of rewarding the reserve defenders. Elevating Barrett and McGill will provide the two with an additional playoff paycheck before the season ends.

Chiefs Rule Out Joe Thuney For Super Bowl LVIII; Jerick McKinnon Unlikely To Return

FEBRUARY 9: As expected, the Chiefs will not keep anyone in suspense here. Reid’s assessment of Thuney will lead to the Chiefs ruling out their All-Pro left guard two days before Super Bowl LVIII. Kansas City has not ruled out McKinnon yet, but the passing-down back remains in the IR-return window.

FEBRUARY 6: A veteran of four Super Bowls, Joe Thuney is not expected to be in uniform for a fifth Sunday. The pectoral strain the Chiefs’ All-Pro left guard sustained against the Bills is likely to again force the AFC champions to make a substitution.

Andy Reid called Thuney, who picked up his first All-Pro nod this season, a longshot to play in Super Bowl LVIII. The Chiefs initially signed Thuney to help their O-line recover from the Buccaneers’ pass-rushing onslaught in Super Bowl LV; he entered the playoffs having missed only two games in three seasons with the Chiefs. The ex-Patriots draftee, however, appears set to give way to veteran backup Nick Allegretti once again.

[RELATED: Chiefs DE Charles Omenihu Tears ACL]

Part of the Chiefs’ injury-reshaped offensive line the Bucs dominated three years ago, Allegretti returned to a starting role in the Chiefs’ AFC championship game win over the Ravens. Kansas City received strong play from its interior O-line this season, helping the team cover for less consistent work from tackles Donovan Smith and Jawaan Taylor. ESPN’s pass block win rate metric ranks Thuney first among all interior O-linemen, with center Creed Humphrey and right guard Trey Smith respectively slotted second and fourth.

Thuney, 31, served as a Patriots linchpin during the second leg of their dynasty. New England drafted Thuney in the 2016 third round and plugged him in as a starter immediately. That meant three straight Super Bowl starts. Thuney added a fourth Super Bowl appearance last year, playing alongside Humphrey and Smith in the Chiefs’ narrow win over the Eagles. Thuney landed as the first-team All-Pro left guard this season. Allegretti is a rather experienced backup, however, having played in 15 postseason games since joining the Chiefs as a seventh-round pick in 2019.

Although Jerick McKinnon returned to practice over the weekend, Reid appears pessimistic the passing-down back will be available Sunday. The 11th-year Chiefs HC said (via The Athletic’s Nate Taylor) McKinnon is not practicing and has a slim chance to play. A key part of the Chiefs’ offense over the past three years, McKinnon has not played since Week 15 due to a groin injury. The Chiefs still have until Saturday to activate McKinnon from IR. This would keep the door open to him playing against the 49ers.

Two other pieces are eligible to return as well. The team also designated Skyy Moore and O-lineman Prince Tega Wanogho for return from IR during the playoffs, but neither has been activated. Kansas City has until Wednesday to activate Moore; otherwise, the inconsistent wideout will revert to season-ending IR. The Chiefs still have five IR activations remaining, giving them the flexibility to move all three players in the IR-return window back onto their roster. Though, it remains to be seen if the team is willing to create the necessary roster space.

Chiefs Activate WR Skyy Moore, Place DE Charles Omenihu On IR

As the Chiefs continue to prepare for their second consecutive Super Bowl appearance (their fourth in five years) and attempt to become the first team to win consecutive Super Bowls since the Patriots did it in the ’03 and ’04 seasons, the team continues to tinker with its roster. Today’s adjustment saw Kansas City activate wide receiver Skyy Moore off of injured reserve and place defensive end Charles Omenihu on IR in his place.

After a fairly pedestrian rookie season last year, Moore was expected to take on a bigger role in his sophomore campaign. Unfortunately, Moore was only barely outpacing his rookie numbers when he suffered a knee injury in a Week 15 victory in New England that would land him on IR and force him to miss the remainder of the regular season.

After the team’s Wild Card win over the Dolphins, Kansas City opened the young wide out’s 21-day practice window, allowing him to return in time for the Super Bowl if possible. Today was the last possible day that the Chiefs were able to activate him off of IR. Moore was a full participant in practice today, so he should be able to step in as a second-string receiver should things continue to trend in the right direction.

Omenihu, third on the team in sacks this season (7.0), suffered a torn ACL in the Chiefs’ AFC Championship win over the Ravens. With his season officially over, it was only a matter of time before he found himself on IR. As it turns out, Kansas City was waiting until it could add a new name to the active roster in his place. The injury means Omenihu will miss a grudge match against his former team on the biggest stage possible.

As for the rest of the Chiefs’ injury report, all but two players were full participants at today’s practice, meaning running back Isiah Pacheco and cornerback L’Jarius Sneed, who both were limited participants for most of the week before the AFC title game, are in better shape heading into the season finale. Today’s sole limited participant was running back Jerick McKinnon, who has served as the team’s second receiving back throughout the season.

The only non-participant at today’s practice was first-team All-Pro guard Joe Thuney. Thuney missed the team’s win in Baltimore with a pectoral injury and isn’t expected to make a comeback this weekend. Head coach Andy Reid told reporters that he “would probably bet towards (Nick) Allegretti playing” in the Super Bowl, per Adam Schefter of ESPN. Allegretti made his second start of the season a week and a half ago as an injury replacement for Thuney and is expected to make his third on Sunday.

Chiefs Rule Out G Joe Thuney For AFC Championship Game

JANUARY 26: Thuney will not be a game-time decision; the Chiefs ruled out their All-Pro left guard out for the AFC title game. Sunday will mark Thuney’s first absence this season. Nose tackle Derrick Nnadi is also out for a second straight game. Additionally, the team will not activate Skyy Moore from IR this week; the second-year wideout has been eligible to come off IR for the past two weeks.

JANUARY 24: While the Chiefs have seen their tackle pickups struggle this season, the defending Super Bowl champions boast one of the NFL’s best interior offensive lines. They look set to need at least one backup to step in Sunday, however.

The pectoral injury Joe Thuney suffered against the Bills is likely to keep him out of the AFC championship game, according to’s Adam Schefter. Thuney is believed to have sustained a pec strain, per’s Ian Rapoport.

Thuney avoiding a tear represents promising news regarding his potential availability for Super Bowl LVIII — should the Chiefs qualify — but he has been one of the NFL’s most durable players during his eight-year career. The former Patriots draftee missed two games last season; those are the only two absences of his eight-year career. Thuney received first-team All-Pro honors at left guard this season.

The Chiefs made Thuney a centerpiece in their 2021 O-line remodeling effort. After the Buccaneers hounded Patrick Mahomes in a Super Bowl LV blowout, the Chiefs added four new starters up front. Thuney became the most expensive piece, signing a five-year, $80MM contract to defect from New England. Thuney joined center Creed Humphrey, right guard Trey Smith and left tackle Orlando Brown Jr. in this successful overhaul. Brown has since left, joining the Bengals, but the Chiefs’ interior trio represents a key part of their voyage to a sixth straight AFC title game.

Thuney, 31, earned second-team All-Pro acclaim in 2022 and joined Humphrey as Chiefs blockers to receive Pro Bowl nods this season. The Patriots used Thuney as a five-year starter, franchise-tagging him in 2020. Though, the dependable guard did not earn any accolades while in New England. The former third-round pick has been quite important in Kansas City, however, especially considering the team’s Donovan Smith and Jawaan Taylor signings have produced inconsistency on the edges. ESPN’s pass block win rate metric slots Thuney, Humphrey and Smith, respectively, first, second and fourth among interior O-linemen.

Fifth-year blocker Nick Allegretti has made four starts at guard over the past two seasons. He profiles as the next man up for the Chiefs, who are attempting to become the first repeat Super Bowl champ since the 2003-04 Patriots. Second-year UDFA Mike Caliendo also resides on K.C.’s 53-man roster.

Chris Jones, Travis Kelce To Play In Week 2

SEPTEMBER 15: After practicing during the week, Kelce will indeed take the field in Week 2, Reid confirmed on Friday (via Teicher). With both he and Jones in the fold, the Chiefs will be well-positioned to rebound from their season-opening performance as they look to repeat last year’s postseason win over the Jaguars.

While it was already known Jones would be in the lineup on Sunday, SI’s Albert Breer notes the team will monitor his workload closely. No pitch count is planned as of now, but after missing all of training camp, it will be interesting to see how much he will see the field in his return.

SEPTEMBER 13: Patrick Mahomes looks like he will have more help against the Jaguars than he did against the Lions. The Chiefs will have Travis Kelce back at practice Wednesday, marking a good step for the future Hall of Fame tight end.

Kelce will log a limited practice session today, which represents a positive sign for his prospects of suiting up in Jacksonville. Kelce missed Week 1 after suffering a hyperextended knee and a bone bruise during the Tuesday practice leading up to Kansas City’s Week 1 game against Detroit. Seeing as the Chiefs had not been without Kelce due to injury since 2013, his absence proved noticeable in a game in which both Mahomes and Kansas City’s inexperienced receiving corps struggled.

Andy Reid also confirmed (via ESPN’s Adam Teicher) Chris Jones will return to action against the Jags. The Chiefs reached a revised agreement with Jones to end his lengthy holdout. While Jones is not guaranteed to recoup what he lost by holding out and missing Week 1, an incentive package is present for the dominant defensive tackle.

Jones pushed his holdout longer than Zack Martin or Nick Bosa and did not achieve what he sought — an Aaron Donald-level extension. While he is a strong candidate to reach free agency, the Chiefs have not given up on an extension that would keep him in Missouri on a long-term third contract. The Chiefs having franchise-tagged Jones in 2020 would run his 2024 tag number past $32MM. For perspective, it cost the Commanders $18.94MM to tag D-tackle Daron Payne this year.

Although the Lions’ run game moving the chains on a Jones-less defensive front helped key the upset victory, the Chiefs’ passing attack became a bigger story. Kansas City won Super Bowl LVII after trading Tyreek Hill, but the team also relied on Kelce and, to a lesser extent, JuJu Smith-Schuster last season. Reid confirmed the Chiefs were not close to matching the Patriots’ three-year, $25.5MM Smith-Schuster offer, and while plans for Kadarius Toney as a WR1 existed early this offseason, the ex-Giants first-rounder has proven inconsistent at every turn since being drafted. The injury-prone wideout’s drops plagued the Chiefs in Week 1, with their other young receivers not moving the needle much during a sluggish opener. A first- or second-team All-Pro selection in seven straight years, Kelce returning will at least provide a sturdy safety net for Mahomes.

In other Chiefs news, they restructured veteran guard Joe Thuney‘s deal. The move, which ESPN’s Field Yates notes frees up $8.7MM in cap space, will make room for Jones’ $19.5MM base salary. Jones had resided on K.C.’s reserve/did not report list. Thuney, who signed a $16MM-per-year deal in 2021, is under contract through the 2025 season. The Chiefs will need to make a decision on the 31-year-old blocker by next year, when his cap number spikes to $26.97MM. Thuney will almost certainly not be brought back at that rate, pointing to another contract-related move coming.

Largest 2023 Cap Hits: Offense

The NFL’s salary cap once again ballooned by more than $10MM, rising from its $208.2MM perch to $224.8MM. Factoring in the pandemic-induced 2021 regression, the NFL’s salary risen has climbed by more than $42MM since 2021.

This has allowed teams more opportunities for roster additions and opened the door for more lucrative player deals — at most positions, at least. However, it does not look like this season will include a $40MM player cap number. The Browns avoided a record-shattering Deshaun Watson $54.9MM hit by restructuring the quarterback’s fully guaranteed contract, calling for monster figures from 2024-26.

Here are the largest cap hits for teams on the offensive side going into training camp:

  1. Patrick Mahomes, QB (Chiefs): $39.69MM
  2. Ryan Tannehill, QB (Titans): $36.6MM
  3. Jared Goff, QB (Lions): $30.98MM
  4. Jake Matthews, T (Falcons): $28.36MM
  5. Trent Williams, T (49ers): $27.18MM
  6. Dak Prescott, QB (Cowboys): $26.83MM
  7. Laremy Tunsil, T (Texans): $26.61MM
  8. Jimmy Garoppolo, QB (49ers): $23.8MM
  9. Amari Cooper, WR (Browns): $23.78MM
  10. Mike Evans, WR (Buccaneers): $23.69MM
  11. Ronnie Stanley, T (Ravens): $23.67MM
  12. Joe Thuney, G (Chiefs): $22.12MM
  13. Russell Wilson, QB (Broncos): $22MM
  14. Lamar Jackson, QB (Ravens): $22MM
  15. Daniel Jones, QB (Giants): $21.75MM
  16. David Bakhtiari, T (Packers): $21.29MM
  17. Kirk Cousins, QB (Vikings): $20.25MM
  18. D.J. Moore, WR (Bears): $20.17MM
  19. Matthew Stafford, QB (Rams): $20MM
  20. Brian O’Neill, T (Vikings): $19.66MM
  21. Taylor Decker, T (Lions): $19.35MM
  22. Deshaun Watson, QB (Browns): $19.1MM
  23. Braden Smith, T (Colts): $19MM
  24. Josh Allen, QB (Bills): $18.64MM
  25. Courtland Sutton, WR (Broncos): $18.27MM

As should be expected, quarterbacks dominate this list. Mahomes’ number checks in here despite the Chiefs restructuring his 10-year, $450MM contract in March; the two-time MVP’s cap hit would have set an NFL record had Kansas City not reduced it. The Chiefs did not restructure Mahomes’ deal last year, but if they do not address it — perhaps via a complex reworking — before next season, Mahomes’ $46.93MM number would break an NFL record.

The Titans have not touched Tannehill’s contract this offseason, one that included some trade rumors months ago. This is the final year of Tannehill’s Tennessee extension. Mahomes and Tannehill sat atop this ranking in 2022.

Cousins is also heading into a contract year, after the Vikings opted for a restructure and not an extension this offseason. Cousins does not expect to discuss another Minnesota deal until 2024, when he is due for free agency. Two relatively low cap numbers have started Wilson’s $49MM-per-year extension. The Denver QB’s cap number rises to $35.4MM in 2024 and reaches historic heights ($55.4MM) by ’25. The subject of a Goff extension has come up, and it would bring down the Lions passer’s figure. But Goff remains tied to his Rams-constructed $33.5MM-per-year deal through 2024.

Jackson and Jones’ numbers will rise in the near future, with the latter’s contract calling for a quick spike in 2024. Next year, the Giants QB’s cap hit will be $45MM. Watson’s 2024 hit, as of now, would top that. The Browns signal-caller is on the team’s ’24 payroll at $63.98MM. Long-term consequences aside, the Browns can be expected to once again go to the restructure well with Watson’s outlier contract.

The Raiders did not backload Garoppolo’s three-year contract; it only climbs to $24.25MM on Las Vegas’ 2024 cap sheet. The Bills did backload Allen’s pact. Its team-friendly years are done after 2023; the six-year accord spikes to $47.1MM on Buffalo’s cap next year. The Cowboys have gone to the restructure well with Prescott. Like Watson, the Cowboys quarterback is tied to a seemingly untenable 2024 cap number. The March restructure resulted in Prescott’s 2024 number rising to $59.46MM. Two seasons remain on that $40MM-AAV extension.

Another notable cap hold that should be mentioned is Tom Brady‘s. When the Buccaneers did not sign the again-retired QB to another contract before the 2023 league year, his $35.1MM dead-money figure went onto Tampa Bay’s 2023 cap sheet. The Bucs will absorb that entire amount this year. Brady’s 2022 restructure, after retirement No. 1, led to the $35.1MM figure forming.

Were it not for another O-line-record extension, the Tunsil number would have come in at $35MM this year. Matthews signed an extension last year. Moore would have come in higher on this list were he still on the Panthers, who took on $14.6MM in dead money to move their top wideout for the No. 1 overall pick. Sutton came up regularly in trade rumors, with the Broncos wanting a second-round pick for the sixth-year veteran. The former second-rounder’s high base salary ($14MM) hinders his trade value.

Chiefs Rework OL Joe Thuney’s Contract

The Chiefs have opened a significant chunk of cap space. The team restructured the contract of offensive lineman Joe Thuney, according to ESPN’s Field Yates (on Twitter).

Specifically, the Chiefs converted $12.86MM of Thuney‘s base salary into a signing bonus. The move created $9.6MM in cap space.

Thuney spent the first five seasons of his NFL career with the Patriots, earning two Super Bowl rings and a second-team All-Pro nod.The former third-round pick ended up starting all 80 of his games during his time in New England.

The lineman inked a five-year, $80MM contract with the Chiefs last offseason, and he proceeded to see time in all 17 games for his new team, appearing in 99 percent of his team’s offensive snaps. Thuney also started all three of Kansas City’s playoff games.

Chiefs’ OL Lucas Niang Out For Rest Of Season

According to a tweet from NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, Andy Reid informed reporters, after the Chiefs’ loss to the Bengals today, that tackle Lucas Niang suffered a torn patellar tendon. Worries were high for the second-year lineman when he needed to be carted off early in the first quarter. Unfortunately, this type of injury not only prevents Niang from returning this year, but, even after extensive rehabilitation, it could hamper Niang for years to come.

Niang was a third-round pick for the Chiefs two years ago, but was one of several players who opted out of the 2020-21 NFL season due to COVID-19 concerns. In what is effectively his rookie season, Niang has been a key player on the line, starting 8 games this season while dealing with some injuries and spending some time on the reserve/COVID-19 list.

Kansas City was already short their other starting tackle, Orlando Brown, as he was scratched early this morning with a calf injury. The Chiefs pushed guard Joe Thuney to left tackle and relied on Andrew Wylie at right tackle. Wylie has been filling in for Niang this year and Kansas City will likely continue to depend on him into the playoffs. The loss of Brown is much more concerning for the immediate future and they will hope to get him back in time for a January run.

As for Niang, a speedy and efficient recovery is the best hope. Tears of the patellar tendon have a penchant for ruining careers. While players have been known to rehab and return, few have looked like their former selves after. Players like former Giants’ receiver Victor Cruz and former Buccaneers’ running back Cadillac Williams have returned to play only to look like shadows of their former selves. Longtime former Patriots’ linebacker Jerod Mayo retired shortly after his diagnosis.

Bears’ tight end Jimmy Graham is a rare example of a player who returned to play and continued being his dominant self. After Graham was traded to the Seahawks, he never quite reached the thousand-yards-receiving-coupled-with-double-digit-touchdown seasons of his days with the Saints, but, after tearing his right patellar tendon in his first season in Seattle, Graham returned to Pro Bowl play each of the next two years and set a Seahawks’ franchise record for single season touchdowns by a tight end with 10 in 2017.

We obviously hope for a best case scenario outcome like this as Niang deals with one of football’s biggest nemeses. Torn patellar tendons have ruined too many careers before they began. Our hopes go out to Lucas as he prepares to tackle a daunting injury and we wish him a long and healthy career.

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.

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 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 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.