The Kansas City Chiefs wasted no time signing Joe Thuney once the NFL legal tampering period started on Monday. What they received is the start of the answer to their problems.
In 2020, the Kansas City Chiefs interior offensive line was the worst and most inconsistent position on the team. An opt-out from Laurant Duvernay-Tardiff, week five injury to Kelechi Osemele, combined with inconsistent play from Andrew Wylie and Austin Reiter. This lead to the Super Bowl collapse.
The Chiefs made news late last week letting go tackles Eric Fisher and Mitchell Schwartz, which caused some in the national media to say the Chiefs run at championships might be done.
I wrote an article that very easily describes how the Chiefs can fix their tackle situation, Replacement options for Schwartz and Fisher – Arrowhead Live. Brett Veach also decided the easy way to fix the interior offensive line problem was to go out and sign the best free agent guard in football, Joe Thuney.
In the past three seasons, Thuney has allowed just one sack and been called for just seven penalties while playing left guard for the New England Patriots. The 2016 third-round draft pick out of North Carolina State won two Super Bowls and has been on the All-Pro team while starting 80 out of 80 games.
The attributes that Thuney brings to the table are football IQ, consistent technique, above-average athletic ability, and a drive to win football games. He is also going to help the Chiefs in just about every area they struggled in offensively in 2020, starting off with running the ball.
The Patriots have been a smash-mouth power football team his entire time in NE, and he should bring some of that toughness to the KC front five. He is a natural fit for Andy Reid’s zone run schemes, but also excels as a puller and blocking at the second level. This will make him a good fit and allow the Chiefs to run more power, counter, and pin and pull.
Listed at 6-foot-5 and 287 pounds, he isn’t an overwhelming mauler type, but he uses his length, and athletic ability to help him win at the second level, and his leverage and grit to win inside reps. This will help with pass protecting the inside in general, but also in the screen game, which the Chiefs struggled in this past season due to inconsistency in the play upfront.
Just from watching the tape, it is clear he is a win at all costs competitor even if it means giving his body up like in the play above to allow his quarterback to get a pass off. After the Center gets beat, he is able to keep the nose tackle at bay with one arm, while positioning himself to be able to take on the twist man. He ends up taking on both, each with half of his body, and he may get knocked back but his quarterback is able to escape the pocket and gain yards.
The Chiefs offensive line was exposed this past season, and most of it was due to a lack of physicality upfront. Thuney brings that and then some when he shows up on Sundays. A player can do a lot of things right, but if he can’t physically beat the man lined up across from him then he will struggle. If he can, well then he will get paid.
If the player can also happen to beat Aaron Donald one on one more times then Aaron Donald can beat him, well this is a way to get paid well, and since Joe Thuney likes to win championships it was a great fit for him to sing a five year $80 million dollar contract, with $32.5 million guaranteed, and in typical Veach fashion, his cap hit for 2021 will only be $4.5 million dollars.
Within hours of the free agency tampering period the Chiefs fixed their largest flaw of the 2020 NFL season. This pairing looks to be a great fit as the Chiefs add a top ten offensive linemen in the NFL to a unit that badly needs talent as well as leadership.
Thuney has been on the big stages before and has already protected Tom Brady for the majority of his career, so he understands how important it is to keep his quarterback healthy and off the ground. He has played and won in the Super Bowl, and it was even reported that he turned down less money for a chance to come to play in Kansas City.
The Chiefs still have wholes to plug up front, and they can get it done and complete what would be a phenomenal rebuild upfront. They have fixed one issue, and now it is time to go fix the tackle position whether it is more free agents, like Alejandro Villanueva, Riley Reiff, or dare I say, Trent Williams.
It could also be draft potential draft picks. Whatever it may be having Thuney inside to set the wall and push the line will impact the unit as a whole greatly. It also seems Thuney gets it and believes in Brett Veach. He took less than some would have offered and is taking far less than he is owed his first season. He has already won a Super Bowl twice in his career, so the fact that he is okay with all of this tells me he wants to win more.
In football more is better, and the Chiefs need to keep adding more talent to the offensive line for the 2021 NFL season.