Grading G Joe Thuney’s deal with the Kansas City Chiefs: B

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Mark Schofield
·3 min read
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The Kansas City Chiefs are in the process of remaking their offensive line, with players like Eric Fisher and Mitchell Schwartz not returning to the team next season. However, given what the team saw happen in Super Bowl LV, with Patrick Mahomes spending most of the game running for his life, the organization needed to make some moves up front.

They did that on the first day of the legal tampering period, reaching a deal with free agent offensive guard Joe Thuney:

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At the outset…yes. That is a lot of money. On paper that would make Thuney the highest-paid interior offensive lineman in the NFL. Of course, the true terms of the deal might bring Thuney in below that $80 million number.

Is he worth it? Well, yes. With Brandon Scherff returning to Washington Thuney became the best player available at his position, and that is going to result in a big payday. Thuney became something of a legend in New England after he helped lock down Aaron Donald in Super Bowl LIII, and since 2018 he has been charged with allowing just three sacks.

The Patriots implement a varied run scheme, with a mix of both zone and gap/power concepts, and Thuney can handle them all. This past season the Patriots rejuvenated their rushing attack with the signing of Cam Newton, and Thuney was a piece of what they did on the ground.

Yet in today’s NFL we all know passing is king, and Thuney is stout in pass protection. He has the awareness and experience to identify twists and stunts up front, and the power, technique and lower-body strength necessary to win many one-on-one matchups. Take this example against the Baltimore Ravens:

When you have invested in a player like Mahomes, you need to be sure that he is going to be protected. That is something that you can almost struggle to put a price on, although the Chiefs seem to have come up with a number here with the Thuney deal. Plus, depending on how this deal is structured, the Chiefs might have been able to push the bigger money years of the deal down the road a bit, when the salary cap is expected to balloon.

And if the franchise is happy, the fanbase should be as well:

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EDITED TO ADD: Okay so the terms of the deal are out and, it changes things a bit.

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Instead of back-loading this deal, the Chiefs front-loaded it a bit, so we have to drop the initial grade somewhat. $48 million practically guaranteed, and upfront, is a lot for an interior offensive lineman.