Season over, Patriots can now resume negotiations with Joe Thuney
Prior to the start of the NFL’s free agency period last spring, 14 players were awarded the franchise tag by their respective teams. Among them was New England Patriots left guard Joe Thuney, who quickly signed the tender sheet to play the season on what was actually a one-year, $ 14.78 million contract.
As the Patriots used the tag to prevent Thuney from reaching the open market, they said in a statement that their goal remained to reach a long-term deal. Such a deal did not materialize until the mid-July deadline, meaning the veteran lineman played the 2020 season under tag and was a) unable to speak to a team new agreement, and b) still ready to enter free agency in 2021.
With the regular season now over, however, New England and Thuney’s camp are able to resume negotiations under league rules.
They have 10 weeks to strike a deal before free agency opens in mid-March, but there are two main factors that stand in the way of just one being reached:
1.) Covid-19: The impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the NFL and its income will be felt this year after a drastically reduced number of fans were allowed to enter stadiums during the season – y including New England, where all eight home games were played in front of empty stands. As a result, the league’s salary cap is expected to remain stable or even decrease from 2020. It also means that teams like the Patriots could be cautious about coming up with high-end offers before a clear number is set for. the coming season.
2.) The appeal of free agency: As was the case last summer, the Thuney camp has little incentive to sign despite Covid-19 and its potential impact on the development of the league’s salary cap. After all, the 28-year-old has consistently proven to be one of football’s best offensive indoor linemen this season and is likely in line for a major salary next year, regardless of the financial situation of the league. Talent will always be paid for, and Thuney is just that.
Add these two factors together and you will see why the contract negotiations between the two parties would not have come to an end last year, nor are they expected to yield new results anytime soon. There is still time to reach an agreement before free agency begins, but all signs point to a decision being once again on the edge.