Could Joe Thuney land with AFC East rival in free agency? originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
Does Trent Brown's arrival signal Joe Thuney's departure?
U.S. & World
That was the line of thinking after the Patriots traded with the Las Vegas Raiders for Brown, who will make $11 million this season as an offensive tackle for New England. Thuney is set to become a free agent on Wednesday and set to command a hefty price tag as one of the best offensive guards on the market.
But the Patriots, who boast the second-most cap space in the NFL, have "reopened" communication with Thuney and "expressed that they'd like to keep" the 28-year-old in New England, Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer reported Monday.
The Patriots could get by without Thuney in 2021 with an offensive line that features Brown and Isaiah Wynn at tackle, Michael Onwenu and Shaq Mason at guard and (pending free agent) David Andrews at center.
But they just lost tackle depth by trading Marcus Cannon to the Houston Texans, and Thuney, a 2019 All-Pro, would help New England maintain continuity on the offensive line for quarterback Cam Newton and in-flux skill position group.
Whether the Patriots can meet Thuney's asking price remains to be seen, however. The New York Jets are expected to have interest in Thuney in free agency, according to ESPN's Rich Cimini, and are right behind New England in available cap space.
The Miami Dolphins also are believed to have interest in several of the Patriots' pending free agents and could Thuney or Andrews to shore up their offensive line.
The legal tampering period begins Monday at Noon ET, so the market for Thuney could heat up quickly.