Patriots Explain Why They Franchise Tagged Joe Thuney

New England seems intent on getting a long-term contract done with Joe Thuney.
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The New England Patriots shocked everyone Monday morning when they decided to franchise tag starting left guard Joe Thuney. The tag brings along a $14.7 million salary that the Patriots must pay Thuney for the 2020 season, which is a hefty price tag for a team that is short on cap space this offseason. 

There was speculation as to whether the six-time Super Bowl champions could tag and trade Thuney, which would provide them with compensation for the 2nd team All-Pro player. While that option is still on the table, the Patriots have released a statement that makes their intentions clear as too what they would like to do with Thuney

"Joe has been a model teammate and an essential element to our success since joining our team in 2016. Utilizing the franchise designation allows both sides more time to try to reach the goal of a long-term agreement."

If the Patriots do in fact want to sign a long-term deal with Thuney, franchising him does give them extra time to do such, and a multi-year deal would allow them to backload the contract, which would reduce his 2020 cap hit.