It appears Joe Thuney’s days with the Patriots might be numbered.
Thuney, who was issued New England’s franchise tag last month, is “likely” to be traded at some point during the 2020 NFL Draft, per Peter King’s latest Football Morning In America column for NBC Sports. King’s report doesn’t come as a total stunner, as we recently learned the Patriots and Thuney have made little progress on a long-term deal.
Keeping Thuney under the terms of the franchise tag would handcuff the Patriots, who currently have less than $1 million in salary cap space. Forking over $14.78 million — which would be the team’s second-highest salary cap hit behind Stephon Gilmore — to Thuney would make it near-impossible for New England to address its other needs.
Trading Thuney also could help the Patriots bolster their draft arsenal. New England currently owns 12 total picks, but over half of the collection is slated between the fifth and seventh rounds. A Thuney deal potentially could garner New England a second-round pick, which the team currently lacks.
Thuney might not be the only noteworthy player moved over the course of the 2020 draft, though. King also expects to see trades for Trent Williams, Andy Dalton, Leonard Fournette and Alshon Jeffery.