HOUSTON, TX - FEBRUARY 05: Tom Brady #12 and Joe Thuney #62 of the New England Patriots celebrate a 34-28 overtime win against the Atlanta Falcons during Super Bowl 51 at NRG Stadium on February 5, 2017 in Houston, Texas.
(Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

The New England Patriots are expected to franchise tag New York Jets free-agent target, offensive guard Joe Thuney.

Joe Douglas and the New York Jets, the era that officially begins Monday afternoon. The NFL’s legal tampering period is now officially open and with it came the first domino to fall.

The New England Patriots are expected to franchise tag offensive guard Joe Thuney, according to Jim McBride of the Boston Globe.

Thuney, 27, is a four-year starter in front of Tom Brady who was expected to be pursued by Douglas and the offensive line-hungry Jets.

Thuney is exactly the type of player Sam Darnold and this offense needs. Through four seasons, the third-round NC State product started all 64 of his possible NFL games.

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The fact that he’s never qualified for a Pro Bowl and played within Dante Scarnecchia’s system scares many on the open market. The Patriots haven’t enjoyed the greatest success rate as it relates to free-agent big heavies signing elsewhere (Nate Solder, etc.). But for an organization that hasn’t selected a first-round offensive lineman since 2006 and second-round hog since 2010, the fewer the options decrease the chance and overall value for the Jets this free agency period.

This doesn’t mean the Jets are completely out on the man. If the Patriots are willing to discuss things, they could work something out, but New York would have to relent picks for Thuney’s services.

The franchise tag number in 2019 was a little over $14 million a season. Joe Thuney is now expected to make more than that number in 2020.

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