New England Patriots guard Joe Thuney is slated to hit free agency on March 18, and he’ll have a litany of teams vying for his services.
INDIANAPOLIS — Joe Thuney is going to be widely coveted in a few weeks.
Thuney, 27, is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent come March 18. Per league conversations, it’s expected at least a dozen teams are interested in signing the Second-Team All-Pro guard when the market opens.
Considering Thuney has never missed a game, is in his prime and can play multiple spots along the front, it’s possible he resets the guard market. Currently, the highest-paid (on annual average) at the position is Brandon Brooks of the Philadelphia Eagles, who signed an extension in 2019 for just under $14.1 million.
In New England, Thuney became the first player in NFL history to start in Super Bowls in each of his first three seasons, winning twice. Coming out of North Carolina State in 2016, Thuney intelligence was off the charts, resulting in a unique Wonderlic strategy. FanSided relayed the story over the summer.
Entering the combine, Thuney was advised not to answer all 50 questions on the Wonderlic test for fear he’d scare off teams with his intellect. Instead, he was instructed to answer only 39 questions, ensuring his score remained below 40. Thuney listened. He answered all 39 questions correctly.
While it’s unclear who the interested teams will be, the Patriots may have a tough time being involved.
New England has a bevy of key players hitting unrestricted free agency including quarterback Tom Brady, safety Devin McCourty, linebackers Jamie Collins and Kyle Van Noy, center Ted Karras and receivers Matthew Slater and Phillip Dorsett. Add in draft picks and potential outside upgrades, and it’s a balancing act for Bill Belichick and his $41.7 million in cap space.
The tampering period begins on March 16 for NFL free agency, with the new league year making all moves official 48 hours later.