One of the most high-profile free agents is off the board, and the Chiefs have made a big splash. Kansas City is signing guard Joe Thuney to a five-year deal, his agent Mike McCartney announced on Twitter.
Details soon trickled in, with Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweeting that the five-year pact is worth a whopping $80M.
Patrick Mahomes was running for his life during this past Super Bowl, and the Chiefs immediately set out to aggressively remake the offensive line. They cut both of their starting tackles, Eric Fisher and Mitchell Schwartz, and are expected to let starting center Austin Reiter walk in free agency.
At $16M annually, Thuney is now the highest-paid guard in the league. He was highly sought after, and we heard the Jets were preparing a push for the former Patriot. A third-round pick back in 2016, Thuney immediately became a starter in New England and has started all 80 possible games since entering the league.
That kind of durability must’ve been attractive to a Chiefs team that saw its O-line decimated by injuries last year. Thuney was a Second-Team All-Pro in 2019 and is one of the league’s best interior linemen. He has versatility and started a couple of games at center for the Patriots in 2020.
Despite landing one of the big fishes on the market, Kansas City likely isn’t going to stop here with addressing Mahomes’ blockers. The Chiefs are also set to host the recently unretired Kyle Long this week.
The Pats franchise tagged Thuney last offseason but never got a long-term deal done. Minimal progress was made right up until the point New England traded for Trent Brown, although Albert Breer of SI.com writes that “lines of communication” recently reopened and that the Patriots had expressed interest in keeping Thuney.
Obviously nothing got done, and despite New England’s free-wheeling spending so far, Thuney got priced out of its range. It’s a big upgrade for the Chiefs.