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Patriots offensive lineman Joe Thuney.

Joe Thuney wasted little time in signing his franchise tag tender from the New England Patriots. There was little reason to wait, since it now makes him the highest-paid player on the team.

According to Thuney’s agent Mike McCartney, the Patriots officially inked Thuney to a franchise contract. For offensive linemen in 2020, that’s a one-year, $14.781 million deal that’s fully guaranteed. Currently, that ties Thuney for No. 1 in the NFL among guards in average annual value on his contract.

It also makes Thuney the highest-paid player on the Patriots on a per-year basis, though his 2020 cap hit does trail behind the $18.67 million hit from cornerback Stephon Gilmore.

According to Spotrac, only three players on the Patriots are set to make over $10 million in 2020: Thuney, Gilmore and safety Devin McCourty (who will make a total of $14 million between salary and bonuses).

Oftentimes, franchise tenders can take some time to get settled, as players often prefer longer contracts for more financial security. Players have until July 15 to come to an agreement on a long-term deal before the franchise tag deal locks in. Apparently, Thuney was satisfied with the one-year deal.

Thuney quickly signing the contract opens a lot of doors for the Patriots. New England is currently strapped for cap space and could free up a lot of room if they were to trade Thuney. According to Boston Sports Journal’s Greg Bedard, there are no rumblings on the trade front with Thuney, but that could change now that Thuney signed his deal.

Thuney has started every game at left guard for the Patriots since being drafted in the third round of the 2016 NFL Draft.

Giants sign Ebner

Patriots special teamer Nate Ebner, who had been with the team since 2012, has reportedly agreed to sign a free-agent deal with the New York Giants. Ebner will soon reunite with former special teams coordinator Joe Judge, now the Giants’ first-year head coach. The 31-year-old made eight tackles last year and blocked a punt over 14 games.

They want to play

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers already have plenty of elite pass catchers for Tom Brady. But more offensive weapons might join Brady in Tampa.

The former Patriots quarterback is expected to sign a multi-year deal with the Bucs. As NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported, the deal will be roughly $30 million per year.

“An unexpected high number of players have reached out to the Buccaneers to let them know they want to join the former Patriots’ QB there,” ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Thursday morning.

The Bucs already have elite wide receivers Mike Evans and Chris Godwin as well as talented receiving tight ends O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate.

Brady also reportedly wants to reunite with Antonio Brown, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero.