The K.C. Chiefs have made their first (and likely only) big free agent splash of the 2021 offseason with the reported signing of former New England Patriots guard Joe Thuney to a mammoth five-year deal worth up to $80 million, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
As recently as last week, the Chiefs cleared the books with the release of Eric Fisher and Mitchell Schwartz in a move that signaled a sea change for the team’s offensive line after watching such poor protection of Patrick Mahomes in the team’s Super Bowl loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Further moves were made to help get the team under the salary cap ceiling heading into the 2021 offseason, including a restructuring of deals for Mahomes, Chris Jones and others.
The signing of Thuney solidifies a position at left guard for the long term, a position that’s served as a revolving door for the Chiefs ever since Andy Reid first arrived. Just last season, the team signed Kelechi Osemele to a one-year deal to play the position, but he tore tendons in both knees by Week 5 and Nick Allegretti stepped in instead to man the position for the duration of the season (and the entirety of the postseason).
The Chiefs have signed Joe Thuney to a five-year contract.
Thuney has been a very good performer for the Patriots ever since he was made a third round pick out of North Carolina State by the Patriots in the 2016 NFL Draft. He was given the franchise tag last season after playing out his rookie deal, and the Patriots reportedly wanted him back this offseason as well, but the Chiefs came in with a heavy bid and apparently won out over all other suitors.
Thuney has started every single game in his five-year NFL career and gives the Chiefs an immediate upgrade along the offensive interior. With the team also bringing in last year’s third round pick Lucas Niang at right tackle, the Chiefs have two presumed new starters set with questions at both left tackle and center still to be addressed. Laurent Duvernay-Tardif is likely returning as the team’s starting right guard in 2021.