Joe Thuney Opens Up About Playing On Franchise Tag, Patriots Future

Many NFL players don’t like playing on the franchise tag, which pays them handsomely but provides no long-term job security.

Joe Thuney, though, doesn’t seem to mind.

Speaking Wednesday in a video call with reporters, the New England Patriots guard said he never considered holding out after being tagged this past spring.

“No,” said Thuney, who sported a wide smile throughout his media session. “I love being here. I love the Patriots organization, my teammates and everyone, so I’m glad to be here, and I’m pumped for the season. … There’s just a whole business aspect of it that kind of is what it is, but I’m really fortunate to be able to play here and excited to be back with my teammates.”

After the Patriots placed the franchise tag on Thuney in March, the sides had an additional four months to negotiate a long-term contract extension. That extension never materialized by the July 15 deadline, meaning Thuney will play this season on what amounts to a fully guaranteed one-year, $14.781 million deal. He and Shaq Mason (2020 salary cap hit: $8.7 million) are one of the NFL’s priciest guard duos.

Thuney was noncommittal when asked whether he would like to remain with the Patriots beyond 2020.

“I’m just focused on this training camp, trying to get better day in, day out and controlling things I can control,” the 27-year-old said. “And right now, that’s just trying to get better a little bit today and going into tomorrow.”

Thuney firmly established himself as one of the NFL’s premier guards last season, playing a team-high 99.2 percent of New England’s offensive snaps and earning second-team All-Pro honors for the first time. Since entering the NFL as a third-round draft pick in 2016, he’s started every game for the Patriots and played at least 99 percent of snaps in each of his four pro seasons.

With Marcus Cannon opting out due to COVID-19 concerns, Thuney said Wednesday he’d be open to playing right tackle this season if called upon.

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Thumbnail photo via Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports Images