LA Chargers: Buy or sell potential offensive line free agents
OG Joe Thuney
Can the LA Chargers land the biggest offensive lineman free agent this offseason?
Offensive guard Joe Thuney is the cream of the crop of interior line free agents. The only other guard that is projected to make more than $10 million in free agency is Brandon Scherff. Given Washington’s status as an up and coming team, they’re much more likely to keep Scherff than the Patriots are to keep Thuney.
Thuney’s new contract has the potential to be a record setter. Philadelphia’s Brandon Brooks is currently the highest paid guard in the league with a four year, $54 million dollar extension he signed in 2019. Spotrac’s Market Value function has Thuney at about $15 million per season. A four year deal would put him around $60 million total while a five year deal would be around $75 million.
When talking about Villanueva, I said $15 million for an older tackle wasn’t smart money. The difference with Thuney is that he is four years younger. The guard market is also much thinner than the tackle market in this free agency in my opinion. The top tier talent in the draft tends to also skew towards the tackle position instead of the guards.
Thuney’s production has been incredibly consistent over his NFL career. Aside from his rookie season, he’s never been below a 70+ PFF offensive grade. He’s never missed a single game either, which should quell any of the injury concerns that may exist with other players.
Another appealing feature is that he’s played every spot from left tackle to center in his NFL career. In 2019, he even played some emergency right tackle. Considering the Chargers’ history with O-Line injuries, that could prove to be very useful. Unless Bulaga gets really lucky next season, I would not expect his injury issues to completely subside. Thuney would start at left guard obviously, but the ability to use him at multiple spots in a pinch is incredibly helpful.
Looking at it from a financial perspective, cutting Turner would be a huge help towards landing Thuney at guard. The Chargers would save $11 million if he came off the books and it would only be $3 or 4 million per year more than that to lock down Thuney.
Some fans and analysts may balk at the amount of money Thuney will ask for, but he’d be a massive upgrade over what they currently have at the guard position, left or right. Thuney scored 25 points higher than Forrest Lamp at left guard last season.
Joe Thuney in FA: Buy