The Patriots hope to sign offensive guard Joe Thuney to a long-term deal after using the franchise tag on him. Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

The Patriots caught many off guard by assigning the franchise tag to offensive lineman Joe Thuney on Monday. Many (including yours truly) speculated that the tag could be step one towards a tag-and-trade scenario, but that might not be the case. The club has discussed a long-term deal with the 27-year-old, according to Albert Breer of The MMQB (Twitter link).

With that, it’s at least possible that the Patriots will lock Thuney down for the long run. Still, it’s not in the Patriots’ nature to pay top dollar for players who are on the road towards open market riches. Even though Thuney will not get to explore his options this year, he’ll enter negotiations with plenty of leverage. If he were to stay with the team on the one-year tag, he’d either be in line to go into free agency unfettered next year, or force the Patriots to bump up his pay even further with a second tag.

The Patriots have a few months to hammer out a long-term deal with Thuney and ample time to explore trade scenarios. In the meantime, they’re feverishly at work to try and replace Tom Brady, who announced his departure from the team on Tuesday morning. Soon after his announcement, owner Robert Kraft and head coach Bill Belichick issued statements to thank Brady for their many years together.

This article first appeared on Pro Football Rumors and was syndicated with permission.



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Can you name every head coach in the history of the New England Patriots?
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1960–1961
Lou Saban
1961–1968
Mike Holovak
1969–1970
Clive Rush
1970–1972
John Mazur
1972
Phil Bengtson
1973–1978
Chuck Fairbanks
1979–1981
Ron Erhardt
1982–1984
Ron Meyer
1984–1989
Raymond Berry
1990
Rod Rust
1991–1992
Dick MacPherson
1993–1996
Bill Parcells
1997–1999
Pete Carroll
2000–
Bill Belichick

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