The Kansas City Chiefs cast their reel on Monday, and came away with one of the big fish from the free agent offensive line class. Former New England Patriots guard Joe Thuney has agreed to a five year contract with Kansas City, according to his agent.
One of the most coveted free agent interior offensive linemen, if not the best, helps the team at their greatest position of need. Thuney has played in a winning culture before. So, his transition there and leadership should not wane while coming to the Chiefs. Meanwhile, this contract gives him the second largest contract for a guard in the NFL. We will touch more on the contract details in a moment. Along with that, let’s look back on the career of Joe Thuney so far, and what kind of style he may bring to the fold in Kansas City.
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Reports confirmed the deal is worth a total of $80 million. That makes him the second highest paid guard in the league currently (Zack Martin signed an extension worth a total of $84 million with Dallas in 2018). Of course that makes his APY $16 million.
The most important thing to keep in mind here is the structure of the contract. According to Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated’s MMQB, $32.5 million is fully guaranteed in the first two seasons. The third year becomes fully guaranteed next March in 2022. So essentially, the Chiefs are all but locked in to a practical guarantee of $48 million over the first three years.
It is also a backloaded contract. Joe Thuney will get a long term deal that he deserves, while in the prime of his career. Kansas City still holds flexibility to make more moves this offseason, though.
As Field Yates of ESPN noted, his signing bonus will be $17 million. Base salaries year after year are as follows: $990,000, $13.9 million, $15 million, $15.5 million and $15.5 million. Finally, Thuney’s workout bonuses total $2.11 million. That structure keeps his cap hit to a measly $4.5 million in 2021.
Career Highlights And Resume
While at NC State, Joe Thuney was slated to become the starting center entering his redshirt sophomore season. Plans changed, however. During his tenure with the Wolfpack, he wound up seeing playing time at right tackle and right guard. Thuney spent more time at left guard and left tackle during the latter stages of his career in college.
In the 2016 NFL Draft, the New England Patriots selected Thuney in the third round with the 78th overall pick. He won the starting left guard spot in his rookie season. Starting in all 16 regular season games, Thuney played the highest amount of snaps of any Patriot in 2016. The Patriots completed an improbable comeback against the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl LI to cap off his rookie year. He was subsequently named to the All-Rookie Team by PFWA.
Super Bowl appearances occurred once again in his second and third seasons in the league. With that, Joe Thuney became the first player in NFL history to start in the Super Bowl in each of his first three seasons. New England would fall in Super Bowl LII to the Philadelphia Eagles, before emerging victorious against the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl LIII.
His durability has been well documented. Thuney has started all of a possible 80 regular season games as a pro. He was named a second team All-Pro in 2019. Afterwards, New England placed the franchise tag on him going into this past season. The two time Super Bowl champion has only allowed three sacks on 1,733 pass block reps since 2018.
Play Style And Traits
I was able to watch a fair amount of Joe Thuney from his time with the Patriots since the news of the signing broke. As such, my thoughts on his play style will be summarized momentarily. But first, I wanted to ask someone who knows Thuney very well, about his play style and what Chiefs fans could expect from him. Here are a few notable comments from Mike D’Abate of FPC Patriots, FPC Radio Live and Locked On Patriots.
Joe Thuney is touted for his versatility. How vital was that during his time in New England?
MD: Thuney was among the most versatile linemen of his era in New England. He was most effective when lining up at the left guard position. However, he also spent time at right guard, the tackle position and even at center. The New England Patriots have always prided themselves on employing a stout offensive line. However, there have been injury concerns throughout the past few seasons. Thuney’s versatility ensured that each position along the line would be manned by a player of his magnitude.
What top traits, in your opinion, does Thuney have that helped make him one of the top IOL on the market?
MD: Joe Thuney is one of the most aware and anticipatory players that I have ever covered. He reacts to the movement of the opposition’s defensive front as well as anyone in the NFL. However, what I have always found most impressive about Thuney is his durability. Over the course of his career, Thuney has played 80 out of a possible 80 games. For a unit that is as prone to injury as any in the NFL, that speaks volumes about his conditioning and athleticism.
Besides physical aspects, what kind of mentality will he help instill up front, especially for a retooled offensive line?
MD: Joe has always been a player that leads by example. While he may not be the most vocal amongst his teammates, his ability to do his job, along with his willingness to play his assignment sets the tone for the remainder of his teammates. His former offensive line coach, Dante Scarnecchia, has said on numerous occasions that Thuney’s quiet leadership helped to make his job easier. That is quite the compliment from a legendary coach like Dante. Again, Thuney’s field awareness and his ability to protect for both the pass and the run will make him an instant favorite in Kansas City.
How did Thuney’s role change, if any, with the QB change in 2020? Did you notice his importance possibly more last season at all?
MD: While he was one year removed from his second team All-Pro selection in 2019, the argument can be made that 2020 may have been Thuney’s most impressive. Providing protection for a new quarterback in Cam Newton, as well as playing multiple positions along the line made him invaluable. Despite the Pats’ troubles at quarterback, his presence provided stability and more often than not, provided the quarterback with ample time to make plays. Taking under account the Chiefs’ struggles in providing protection for Patrick Mahomes in the Super Bowl, Joe Thuney will be a welcome addition on KC’s offensive line.
If I could add anything to Mike’s terrific insight, I would say the thing that stands out the most with Thuney is that he is very technically sound. His play will not wow you or pop off onto highlight reels. He is not overly physical. Yet, Thuney plays with quick hands and feet. His hand technique is top notch. And, seeing how this blocker finishes is also going to be quite the improvement and upgrade for the Kansas City Chiefs upfront.
Personally, I would say Joe Thuney is better in pass protection than as a run blocker. His run blocking is still exceptional. That pass pro prowess will fit in well with a vertical passing offense like Andy Reid runs. Most of all, the 28 year old has the aforementioned versatility and durability. Kansas City pushed hard for a player who is consistent, intelligent and an incredibly hard worker. And they made a splash from the outset of free agency.
Be on the lookout for more FPC Chiefs articles as free agency unfolds. Reports have indicated that Kansas City may be in on many other players, so stay locked in to @FPC_Chiefs on Twitter. For more great sports and NFL content, stay tuned to Full Press Coverage.
– Braden Holecek is the Kansas City Chiefs managing editor for Full Press Coverage. He covers the NFL. Like and follow on Follow @ebearcat9//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js Follow @FPC_Chiefs//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js and Facebook.