NFL free agents: Joe Thuney
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

The New England Patriots surprised many this offseason when they placed the franchise tag on All-Pro offensive lineman Joe Thuney. Now with Tom Brady gone and the team likely to undergo significant changes, Thuney could potentially be on his way out of New England.

Negotiations between Thuney and the Patriots haven’t gone well, per ESPN’s Mike Reiss. The All-Pro guard holds the leverage in contract talks given New England’s tight cap space and his future with the team is now in doubt with the 2020 NFL Draft approaching.

Furthermore, NBC Sports’ Peter King listed Thuney as the third-likeliest player to be traded during the NFL Draft. He even ranks ahead of Jacksonville Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette, who is being shopped heavily this week.

If the Patriots are going to trade their All-Pro guard, Bill Belichick would likely target a second-round pick. New England traded its 2020 second-round selection for Mohamed Sanu during this past season.

They might be open to shipping Thuney out for a third-round pick. If Belichick doesn’t believe progress can be made on a contract extension with Thuney, he could view shipping him out for another third-round selection as a reasonable alternative.

If the Patriots trade Thuney, it would be another hit for an offense that will look very different next season. It would also be a blow for a potential rookie quarterback, a position many expect the team to spend a premium pick on in the 2020 NFL Draft.

Matt Johnson
NFL, MLB & college football writer for Sportsnaut. Graduated from San Diego State University with BA in Journalism, 2019. Grew up in Sacramento, now based in Indianapolis. Seen on MSN. Previously: eDraft, The Connection, With the First Pick