Could Joe Thuney Fill Patriots’ Right Tackle Void Left By Opt-Outs?

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Between Shaq Mason’s contract and Joe Thuney franchise tag, the New England Patriots have invested a lot of salary cap space at the offensive guard position.

They could spread that money out along the offensive line by moving Thuney to right tackle, where the Patriots suddenly have a void left by Marcus Cannon’s opt-out without an obvious replacement.

Thuney sounds willing to switch positions and sides of the line.

“Whatever can help the team,” Thuney said Wednesday in a video conference call with the media. “It doesn’t matter where. Just trying to do what I can, use the tools I have to help the team in whatever’s necessary.”

Thuney noted he played some right tackle last season in Week 1 against the Pittsburgh Steelers after Cannon went down with an injury. He practiced at left tackle last offseason before starter Isaiah Wynn returned from an Achilles injury.

Some offensive linemen have described playing on the left side versus the right like it would be writing with your other hand. Thuney said playing right tackle was “definitely different.”

“Coaches did a great job of trying to get reps and everything at practice,” Thuney said. “We’ve got a lot of guys getting reps at different positions because you never know. You go into a game with seven o-linemen, usually. The more you can do, the better. Just try to keep the fundamentals the same. Just tried to do what I could.”

Thuney did play left tackle in college at North Carolina State before moving full-time to guard in the NFL. He’d be slightly undersized to play tackle in the NFL, but Wynn is also on the shorter side.

“You’re dealing with different body types going from guard to end,” Thuney said. “Your legs and arms are reversed and stuff. It’s not like it’s the first time you’ve ever taken a snap on the right side during the game. It’s the next-man-up mentality. If that means shifting someone over, that means shifting someone over.”

If Thuney isn’t the man to play right tackle, the Patriots’ other current options are Yodny Cajuste, Korey Cunningham and Justin Herron. If Thuney does move, the Patriots would then need someone to fill in at left guard.

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Thumbnail photo via Stew Milne/USA TODAY Sports Images