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Analysis

Chiefs make a big splash and improve the offensive line with Joe Thuney signing

Nov 1, 2020; Orchard Park, New York, USA; New England Patriots offensive guard Joe Thuney (62) blocks on a play in the third quarter against the Buffalo Bills at Bills Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

NFL free agency has officially begun and the Kansas City Chiefs have already made a big move, signing offensive lineman Joe Thuney.

Career

Thuney has played his entire five-year career with the New England Patriots. In those five years, Thuney played 80 games and has become one of the top offensive guards in the league. He has been penalized only 21 times (zero in playoffs) and allowed 7.5 sacks (zero in playoffs), including only three sacks in 2,033 pass-blocking snaps since 2019. He was also named to the 2016 All-Rookie Team and a 2019 Second-Team All-Pro.

Contract

Thuney and the Chiefs agreed on a five-year deal worth $80 million. The first two years of his deal are fully guaranteed at $32.5 million, and the third year is guaranteed next March. Overall, $48 million is guaranteed over the first three years.

What Does He Bring?

Earlier this week, Kansas City released two of their starting offensive lineman, Eric Fisher and Mitchell Schwartz. Releasing both offensive tackles saved over $18 million, but left the team and fans with a lot of work to do.

Prior to the Thuney signing, the Chiefs appeared to have the right side of the line set with Laurent Duvernay-Tardif at right guard, and Lucas Niang at right tackle. Outside of LDT and Niang, the Chiefs need to address the left side and center.

Signing Thuney can fill multiple spots on the line. Throughout his NFL career, Thuney has mainly played at the guard position. However, he can play any position on the line. He was graded as the top pass-blocking offensive tackle in college football during his senior season at NC State in 2015. Thuney has also started games at the center position.

Former Chicago Bears offensive guard, Kyle Long, is visiting Kansas City this week and the Chiefs could push Thuney outside to left tackle or center if Long is signed. Thuney’s versatility opens up more opportunities in adding to the line.

The biggest need for the Chiefs this offseason has been to protect Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs have started to improve the protection by adding Thuney. There is still more work to do on the line, but the Chiefs have a great start in revamping the offensive line.

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