Update 7/15/2020: Patriots do not reach long-term deal with Joe Thuney before today’s franchise tag deadline
The deadline to sign franchise players to a contract extension came and passed, and the New England Patriots and starting left guard Joe Thuney stayed put: as expected, the two sides did not reach a new deal. Thuney will therefore spend the 2020 season playing on a one-year, $14.78 million contract.
Original story 7/15/2020: Patriots not expected to reach long-term deal with Joe Thuney before today’s franchise tag deadline
While there are still a few hours on the clock before today’s 4 pm deadline for franchise tag players to sign long-term extensions, the New England Patriots and Joe Thuney will stay put: according to reports by NFL Network’s Mike Giardi and Ian Rapoport, the two sides are not expected to come to a contractual agreement today. As a result, Thuney will play the 2020 season on the one-year franchise tag at a salary cap value of $14.78 million.
The Patriots originally decided to use the franchise tag on Thuney to keep him from hitting the open market before the start of this year’s free agency period in mid-March. One of the best and most dependable young players his position has to offer, Thuney improved every season since joining the team as a third-round draft pick back in 2016 and helped New England win two Super Bowls before being headed for the first big payday of his NFL career.
That day did not yet come, however, with the Patriots instead using the tag to keep Thuney in the fold for one more year. The thought behind the move, according to a team statement released at the time, was “to reach a long-term agreement” with the 27-year-old. Him signing his non-guaranteed tender sheet just a short time after receiving it was seen as further proof of that, but it now looks as if negotiations have gone nowhere since then.
Where do the two sides now go from here? They are not allowed to reach an extension until after Week 17 of this year’s regular season, which means that the Patriots and Thuney’s camp are allowed to meet at the negotiating table again on January 4. Until then, he will try to add to an already impressive résumé: Thuney has started 74 of a possible 74 games over the first four years of his career, was named a second-team All-Pro in 2019, and is a member of the Patriots’ Team of the 2010s.