Joe Thuney is going to Kansas City.
For the first time since 2015, the Patriots will need a new left guard. Thuney landed a whopper of a deal with the Chiefs Monday, according to his agent, Mike McCartney.
Thuney, who played on the franchise tag in 2020 for $14.78 million and said last season he loved the Patriots organization and was open to staying, agreed to a five-year contract worth $80 million to help protect Patrick Mahomes’s blindside. He will be the highest-paid interior lineman in the NFL.
“Mr. Consistency. Sad to see you go but we’ll always have the memories, bubs!,” Julian Edelman tweeted along with a picture of himself with Thuney during a postgame celebration at Gillette Stadium.
Thuney, who was drafted in the third round in 2016 with a pick obtained in the Chandler Jones trade, earned the left guard job in his first training camp and never gave it up.
He started all 90 of the Patriots games (postseason included) — a remarkable run of durability in the NFL, and even more impressive considering how violent it gets in the trenches.
The 6-foot-5-inch, 308-pound Thuney became the first player in league history to start in the Super Bowl in each of his first three seasons in the league, picking up rings in Super Bowl LI over Atlanta and Super Bowl LIII over the Rams.
He also provides valuable versatility, making emergency appearances at both tackle and center during his tenure in Foxborough.
In 2019, Thuney went the entire season without being flagged for a penalty — another remarkable feat.
Three of the Chiefs top players — Mahomes, Travis Kelce, and Chris Jones, recently reworked their contracts to give the club much needed salary cap relief, allowing them to land Thuney.
Kansas City’s poor offensive line play was on display in the Super Bowl, where Mahomes was running for his life for four quarters in the loss to the Buccaneers.
The Patriots have several options to replace Thuney and they are tied to how the club decides to use recently-acquired tackle Trent Brown.
If Brown is used at left tackle, where he played in 2018, the Patriots could bump Isaiah Wynn to left guard. If Brown is slotted at right tackle, Mike Onwenu, who played guard and tackle with aplomb in 2020, could play left guard.
The Patriots also lost Terrence Brooks, who provided excellent special teams play and valuable safety depth during his two years in New England.
The return of Patrick Chung, the development of Kyle Dugger, and the signing of Jalen Mills combined to squeeze out Brooks.
Brooks agreed to a one-year deal with the Texans, according to his agent, Drew Rosenhaus.
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