Source: 'Pretty quiet' on Joe Thuney extension as Patriots near NFL deadline

Source: 'Pretty quiet' on Joe Thuney extension as Patriots near NFL deadline

Never say never. Deadlines spur action. 

But as the NFL approaches its deadline for players who've received the franchise tag to negotiate long-term agreements with their teams, things remain quiet between the Patriots and Joe Thuney, according to a source. 

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Thuney signed his franchise tender earlier this offseason, which will pay him near the top of the market for offensive linemen on a one-year, fully-guaranteed deal worth nearly $15 million.

"Joe has been a model teammate and an essential element to our success since joining our team in 2016," a Patriots' March 16 statement read. "Utilizing the franchise designation allows both sides more time to try to reach the goal of a long-term agreement."

The Patriots have until 4 p.m. EST to strike a long-term deal with Thuney. If they do, they'd likely have to make the 27-year-old one of the league's highest-paid guards. He hasn't missed a start in four years. He's helped the Patriots win two Super Bowls. He was named a Second-Team All-Pro last season. Pro Football Focus credited Thuney with only one sack allowed over the last two years. He did not commit a penalty in 2019.

The NFL's uncertain financial future — 2020 revenues will be impacted by COVID, which will impact the salary cap — has made long-term deals for tagged players across the league a relative rarity. Again, never say never, but as of Wednesday morning it appears as though Thuney will play out 2020 on a one-year contract and then have an opportunity to hit the market again in 2021.

Though the cap could shrink next year, the good news for Thuney is that people we've spoken to consider Thuney's next long-term deal to be "COVID-proof." Players of his caliber, the thinking goes, will still be paid what they're worth.

It's the class of average veterans sprinkled throughout the league — more experienced but more expensive than players on rookie deals — who could suffer.

Why Jason, Devin McCourty decided not to opt out of Patriots' 2020 season

Why Jason, Devin McCourty decided not to opt out of Patriots' 2020 season

The New England Patriots have a league-high eight players opting out of the 2020 NFL season due to concerns about playing amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Pats defense was impacted most with safety Patrick Chung and linebacker Dont'a Hightower deciding the risk of playing this year outweighed the reward. There was some speculation Devin and/or Jason McCourty could follow suit after Devin criticized the NFL for moving up the opt-out deadline, but both are set to play this season.

On Friday, Jason McCourty explained why he and his twin brother never seriously considered opting out.

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“Me and Dev have both spoken a lot about our stance on everything that goes on — I don’t think either one of us ever thought about actually opting out," McCourty said on a video call with reporters. "The opt-out itself just wasn’t worth it. I think for us, the love of the game and the ability to go out there — we didn’t really have a lot of issues that other people have, whether it was newborn kids, whether it was things that put them in high risk or close family members that put them in high risk.

“So for us, it was strictly from a family standpoint, we felt like it was worth it to give it a try and see what we were up against. And being able come into the building, seeing the things that would be done (to protect players), I think we thought it was necessary to go through that process.

"And I think us, like anybody in our society right now, if it was something that was at an extremely high risk to you or your family, of course you wouldn’t continue to do it if you could stop it. But I think for all of us right now playing that are in our building — I can’t speak for everybody, but I think we’re comfortable with the protocols and the measures that have been taken. I think all of us are in this thing together."

While they're a bit shorthanded for 2020, the Patriots defense still is positioned to be one of the best in the NFL. That especially applies to the secondary, where the McCourty twins will aim to help maintain the unit's reputation as one of the best positional groups in the league.

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NFL Rumors: Details of Lamar Miller's Patriots contract revealed

NFL Rumors: Details of Lamar Miller's Patriots contract revealed

The New England Patriots have signed another former Pro Bowler for pennies on the dollar, it appears.

Running back Lamar Miller officially signed a one-year contract with the Patriots in free agency Thursday, and now we know the reported details of that deal, thanks to ESPN's Field Yates.

Miller will make $1.05 million in base salary in 2020 with $200,000 guaranteed. He has an additional $1.5 million in incentives, per Yates, meaning he can earn up to $2.55 million this season. 

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That's a pretty steep discount for the 29-year-old running back, whose four-year, $26 million contract with the Houston Texans (with $14 million guaranteed) expired this spring.

Miller made the Pro Bowl in 2018 and has two 1,000-rushing-yard seasons under his belt but missed the entire 2019 campaign after tearing his ACL in the preseason.

Miller actually has the same base salary as Patriots quarterback Cam Newton, who took an even bigger pay cut to join New England in free agency. Newton's contract has more incentives, though: The three-time Pro Bowler can earn up to $7.5 million this season.

Starting running back Sony Michel is still recovering from ankle surgery and may not be ready for Week 1, so Miller has the opportunity to revive his career in New England, while the Patriots are hoping to find value in another talented player coming off an injury.