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Free agent profiles: Joe Thuney

NFL: Buffalo Bills at New England Patriots Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

With free agency and the NFL Draft inching closer, fans and the media debate what the Ravens’ biggest need may be and how they will address it in a complicated offseason with a smaller salary cap. Some argue wide receiver, others prefer offensive line, while others say edge rusher. Surely Baltimore will attack all three of these positions at some point this offseason, whether through free agency or the draft. The question is, however, which one will be the main priority for general manager Eric DeCosta?

While a large portion of the fanbase continues to clamor for a splash signing at wide receiver, and there are certainly intriguing receivers scheduled to hit the open market, there could also be some desirable offensive linemen available. Patriots guard Joe Thuney is one example.

Thuney was drafted by New England in the third round of the 2016 NFL Draft. He has spent the first five seasons of his career with the Patriots, playing the 2020 season under the franchise tag. Thuney has been one of the league’s top-tier guards during his career, making second-team All-Pro in 2019.

Thuney would immediately solve a position of uncertainty at right guard for the Ravens, albeit at a hefty price. Spotrac.com currently calculates Thuney’s market value at five years for $76,842,460 with an average annual salary of $15.3 million, making him one of the most expensive free agents available.

After losing All-Pro RG Marshal Yanda to retirement following the 2019 season, Baltimore struggled to find the right man for the position — a problem that persisted through much of the 2020 season. Rookie third-round pick Tyre Phillips started the year at right guard, but his play left much to be desired. Second-year G Ben Powers finished the season in his place and fared quite well for the most part until a poor outing against the Bills in the playoffs.

Upgrading the offensive line was already a priority for the Ravens this offseason, but with the potential trade of Orlando Brown Jr., it has become a pressing need.