The Patriots released a statement Monday after franchising Thuney:
“Joe has been a model teammate and an essential element to our success since joining our team in 2016. Utilizing the franchise designation allows both sides more time to try to reach the goal of a long-term agreement.”
Thuney will cost $14.781 million on the franchise tag. The Patriots are running out of salary cap room and have yet to re-sign free-agent quarterback Tom Brady. Thuney will start counting against the Patriots’ salary cap on March 18 at 4 p.m. ET.
If the Patriots deal Thuney, it likely would be for at least a third-round pick.
The Patriots’ statement could be translated as posturing. They must give off the impression their goal is to sign Thuney to a long-term contract after franchising him. This also could help the Patriots in trade negotiations with other teams if their stated intent is to keep Thuney long-term.