Patriots guard Joe Thuney officially signs franchise tender for over $14 million

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY

By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com

Joe Thuney has officially signed his franchise tender for the Patriots. His contract will be for one year and $14.781 million, fully guaranteed. Thuney's agent Mike McCartney announced the signing via Twitter on Thursday.

Thuney was set to earn one of the most lucrative contracts in history for a guard if he hit the open market. The Patriots exercised their right to avoid that possibility by placing the franchise tag on him. Now that it's signed, Thuney is officially under contract.

This doesn't necessarily mean that Thuney is definitely going to remain on the Patriots. The Pats are now free to explore a possible trade for the guard, if that's the route that Bill Belichick wants to take. Trading Thuney wouldn't count for any dead cap money, so the entirety of his $14.781 million tag would be cleared off the books in terms of both real and cap cash.

Jan 20, 2019; Kansas City, MO, USA; New England Patriots offensive guard Joe Thuney (62) gets ready before the snap against the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Championship game at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 20, 2019; Kansas City, MO, USA; New England Patriots offensive guard Joe Thuney (62) gets ready before the snap against the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Championship game at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

In their official announcement of Thuney's tag on Patriots.com, the team issued the following statement: "Joe has been a model teammate and an essential element to our success since joining our team in 2016. Utilizing the franchise designation allows both sides more time to try to reach the goal of a long-term agreement."

It's hard to believe that the Pats would come out and say they have a goal of a long-term agreement if they weren't sure they are going to reach it. But if they do trade Thuney, they could later spin it by saying they simply couldn't reach the goal they laid out. Maybe blame Thuney himself if they want to. Actions speak louder than words when it comes to these things. But saying they want to sign Thuney long-term didn't seem necessary.

Clearly, the Patriots valued Thuney enough to keep him in the fold for at least one more year at top-of-the-market money, if that's where it ends up with them. Thuney could certainly fetch real value in a trade. We'll see where it goes from here.

Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at [email protected].