Over the last few years, really good offensive linemen have been paid increasingly handsomely — and Joe Thuney is a really good offensive lineman.
Teams will be planning accordingly.
After playing the 2020 campaign under the franchise tag, the career New England Patriot will hit free agency this offseason. Teams likely will be lining up to pay the guard, so much so that he could set a record.
That’s the prediction of ESPN NFL Insider Field Yates, who wrote this Tuesday about the 28-year-old.
“I expect Thuney, who played on the franchise tag this season, to sign the richest free-agent contract for a guard in NFL history,” Yates said.
Where the Patriots fit into the equation isn’t entirely clear. They’re awash with cap space this offseason, but have so many other areas that need upgrading that they simply might have to let Thuney walk.
And that would be a tough pill to swallow, as Thuney has developed into one of the best offensive linemen in football. The NC State product was selected in the third round (78th overall) of the 2016 NFL Draft.
Thuney, still just 28 years old, has won two Super Bowls but has not been named to any Pro Bowl rosters.