New England Patriots

Dec 21, 2019; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; New England Patriots offensive guard Joe Thuney (62) looks to block against the Buffalo Bills during the second half at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

By 98.5 The Sports Hub Staff

A new report from ESPN’s Mike Reiss suggests that Patriots left guard Joe Thuney is highly likely to end up playing the 2020 season under the franchise tag of $14.78 million. The two sides have until July 15 to sign a new contract.

The Patriots placed the tag on Thuney in March, issuing 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.”

Reiss reported in April that Thuney and the Patriots “haven’t been close” to agreeing on a new contract. On Sunday, Reiss placed his odds of Thuney playing under the franchise tag at 80 percent, citing the caution that teams are showing with long-term deals amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Jan 4, 2020; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; New England Patriots offensive guard Joe Thuney (62) walks off of the field after a loss to the Tennessee Titans at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Patriots starting left guard Joe Thuney is getting closer to playing under the franchise tag. (Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports)

As for other possibilities, Reiss puts a “short-term extension” at 10 percent, and both a long-term extension and trade at 5 percent each.

Thuney became the first player in NFL history to start in the Super Bowl in each of his first three seasons. He missed just 10 offensive snaps in the 2019 regular season, leading the team in total offensive snaps with 1,140.

Should Thuney remain a Patriot for the 2020 season – and assuming the season happens as planned – he will be part of a reunited 2018 Patriots offensive line that missed center David Andrews throughout the 2019 campaign. Thuney proved to be a major piece of an O-line that played a key role in the Patriots’ Super Bowl championship run two seasons ago.

The situation between Thuney and the Patriots is a common one across the NFL in the 2020 offseason. As Reiss noted, none of the 14 NFL players assigned the franchise tag have signed an extension as of Monday.

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