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New England Patriots Left Guard Joe Thuney Taking Franchise Tag In Stride

New England Patriots left guard Joe Thuney did not seem to mind the news he received on March 16.

There would be no stop by the NFL’s open market for the second-team All-Pro selection. But there would be $14.781 million guaranteed to play the upcoming season where he’d played each of his previous.

Holding out in the hopes of striking a deal for beyond 2020 wasn’t something Thuney entertained.

“No, I love being here,” Thuney said Wednesday from Gillette Stadium on a video conference with reporters. “I love the Patriots organization, my teammates and everyone, so I’m glad to be here and I’m pumped for the season.”

Thuney landed in New England at pick No. 78 overall in the 2016 draft. The North Carolina State product has started all 64 games in the regular season since then and all 10 playoff games. He’s been on the field for three Super Bowls and off of it for less than 1% of the offensive snaps.

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Set to earn his MBA after completing two last classes this week, Thuney understands the deal behind the non-exclusive franchise tag. He also understands the deal he has in front of him.

“It’s just there’s a whole business aspect to it,” Thuney added. “It kind of is what it is. Like I said, I’m really fortunate to be able to play here and excited to be back with my teammates.”

The Patriots had last utilized the franchise tag in 2015 with kicker and all-time scoring leader Stephen Gostkowski. A long-term agreement would be reached prior to the deadline that summer. As for Thuney, 27, that was the initial goal this summer.

“Joe has been a model teammate and an essential element to our success since joining our team in 2016,” the Patriots shared in a statement before the new league year began. “Utilizing the franchise designation allows both sides more time to try to reach the goal of a long-term agreement.”

Thuney signed his one-year tender three days later. Leverage followed. But by 4 p.m. ET on July 15, so did the closing of the negotiating window.

And on a Patriots team suddenly surpassing $35 million in cap space, per PatsCap’s Miguel Benzan, his figure is locked in behind only reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year Stephon Gilmore’s $18.670 million.

“I didn’t really know what to expect,” Thuney said of being tagged. “First time kind of playing out my rookie contract and then heading into free agency … kind of just a new experience for me. But got the call, got the franchise tag. Like I said, the Patriots are just such a great organization. I’m happy I can just keep playing football and keep doing what I love to do. It’s just one of those things, and my agent helped me a lot through the process and took it a day at a time.”

Thuney has been charged with one sack allowed over the past two campaigns and gone 1,140 snaps since being flagged for his last penalty, according to Pro Football Focus.

But he holds a guard spot on New England’s latest All-Decade roster next to Logan Mankins.

It is a good place to be.

“I’m just focused on this training camp, trying to get better day in, day out and control the things I can control,” said Thuney. “And right now, that’s just trying to get better a little bit today and going into tomorrow.”

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