Joe Thuney has quite a bit of leverage over the New England Patriots, and he apparently knows it.
ESPN’s Mike Reiss reported Sunday that the two sides are no closer to an extension than they were in mid-March. Reiss also explained why he thinks Thuney playing the 2020 season on the franchise tag is much more likely than any other option.
A second-team All-Pro, Thuney signed his franchise tag three days after the Patriots assigned it to him March 16. While some NFL players, and perhaps based on position, scoff at the tag, Thuney used it to his advantage.
After all, Thuney will earn $14.78 million in 2020. It would make him the second-highest-paid guard in the NFL, should a long-term deal not be reached.
Reiss, though, ranked four different possibilities including Thuney playing on the tag, signing a short-term deal, signing a long-term deal or being traded. A long-term deal would help the Patriots free up cap space, while a franchise tag would likely pay Thuney the most for 2020.
Reiss believes there is an 80 percent chance Thuney plays out the year on the tag while signing a short-term deal (10 percent) came ahead of signing a long-term deal (five percent) or being traded (five percent).
The Patriots said their goal was to come to a long-term agreement with Thuney in March, and for good reason. Thuney’s cap hit is scheduled to be the second-highest on the team behind only cornerback Stephon Gilmore.