Joe Thuney probably will start the 2020 NFL season with the Patriots, but will he finish the campaign in New England?
There’s plenty of uncertainty surrounding Thuney’s future in Foxboro. The 2019 second-team All-Pro will play under the franchise tag 2020, as he and the Patriots failed to reach an agreement on a long-term deal by last Wednesday’s deadline. In fact, the two sides reportedly didn’t come close to ironing out a new deal.
As such, one might imagine the possibility of an in-season trade for Thuney is at least on the table considering the Patriots currently are in jeopardy of losing him for nothing next spring. But if you ask ESPN’s Patriots reporter Mike Reiss, the 27-year-old isn’t likely to be moved during the season.
“…I view an in-season trade as a less likely scenario for multiple reasons,” Reiss wrote for ESPN.com. “Perhaps most notably, it’s asking a lot for another team to give up a considerable asset (e.g. third-round pick) for a highly paid player who might be a short-term rental. Meanwhile, from a Patriots standpoint, when the combined cap charges for quarterbacks is $4.4 million — one of the lowest totals in the league — it provides more flexibility elsewhere. And Thuney, arguably their best offensive lineman, is well worth it with that context.”
The Patriots, as a team, have their work cut out for them in trying to usher in a new starting quarterback. Those efforts can be aided with above-average offensive line play, and with Thuney still in the fold, New England is poised to feature one of the strongest units in the league. So, as Reiss notes, Bill Belichick and Co. probably are content with shelling out nearly $15 million to the 2016 third-rounder this season.