NY Jets: Patriots will not use the franchise tag on Joe Thuney

NY Jets, Joe Thuney (Photo by Billie Weiss/Getty Images)
NY Jets, Joe Thuney (Photo by Billie Weiss/Getty Images) /

The NY Jets have a chance to target quite a few high-profile free agents this offseason. And perhaps none are more high-profile than standout guard Joe Thuney.

Thuney has been one of the best guards in football over the last five years and is expected to have a massive market if he does, in fact, hit free agency. And on Tuesday, we gained some clarity about his situation.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that the New England Patriots are not expected to place the franchise tag on Thuney meaning that he will be a free agent.

This is a major development, not only for the Jets, but for the dozens of teams that will likely be interested this offseason. The top name on the offensive line market will be hitting free agency.

The NY Jets must make Joe Thuney a priority

Thuney was slated to hit free agency a year ago before the Patriots swooped in and placed the tag on him at the last minute. The Jets were one of the teams expected to be very interested in the former third-round pick.

But their quest was ultimately delayed a year.

Now set to hit the open market for real this time, the Jets are once again expected to heavily pursue Thuney. And it’s easy to see why.

Thuney has started all 80 games over the past five years and has yet to miss a game in his NFL career. He has experience playing tackle, center, and guard, but has made a name for himself at the latter.

Since 2017, Thuney has received a Pro Football Focus grade ranking inside the top-12 guards in football in every season. And in two of those seasons, he finished inside the top-six.

He’s a highly-regarded leader and captain, incredibly durable for today’s NFL, and a standout on-field performer. If there ever was the perfect Joe Douglas free agent, it’s Joe Thuney.

The Jets certainly won’t be alone in their pursuit of Thuney with more than half the league expected to be interested. That means his market could grow exponentially — a bidding war Douglas usually wouldn’t want to partake in.

But Thuney is different. This situation is different. With a glaring need on the offensive line and a boatload of cap space, Douglas and the Jets must do what they can to land Thuney in New York.

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It’s been rumored for a while that he would hit free agency. Now we have our confirmation.