Super Bowl LV is over, which means it’s time for every team in the league to start building for Super Bowl LVI. Free agency is one of the most important parts of the team-building process, and Joe Thuney is arguably the best guard on the free agent market. Just about every team in the league would love to secure his services, but there are only a few teams that could truly make the most of the left guard.
2021 Free Agent Team Fits: Joe Thuney
The Jacksonville Jaguars are in a terrible spot, but they have the chance to begin fixing their franchise. Step 1 is finding the right quarterback, and they have a chance to do that with Trevor Lawrence. Step 2 is finding someone that can keep him upright and give him a chance to succeed. Jacksonville is probably the least-talented roster in the league, and they’ll need to do something to upgrade the situation. DJ Chark and Laviska Shenault are a solid receiving duo, so Jacksonville should devote most of their resources to protecting Trevor Lawrence.
New York Jets
Sam Darnold? Justin Fields? Zach Wilson? It won’t matter if the offensive line continues to get the quarterback killed. The Jets have more immediate needs than guard – they could certainly use a tackle and a few playmakers to complement Denzel Mims. However, with nearly $68 million in expected cap space, the Jets should be able to pay Thuney while adding more supporting pieces to the offense. The Jets are still a few years away from competing, even with a good offseason, so they should spend the next few months updating the offensive supporting cast so their quarterback can have a fighting chance in 2021.
Joe Burrow had a promising rookie year in some of the worst conditions imaginable. At the time of his season-ending injury, Burrow ranked 2nd in sacks and 5th in quarterback hits despite having one of the quicker releases in football. Burrow looks like he just might be Cincinnati’s long-awaited answer at quarterback, but he won’t survive if he keeps taking these types of beatings. Adding Joe Thuney and drafting someone like Oregon’s Penei Sewell in the NFL Draft will go a long way towards fixing Burrow’s terrible offensive line.
Los Angeles Chargers
Justin Herbert was easily the best rookie quarterback in the league last year, and the fact he played as well as he did with this offensive line is nothing short of astounding. According to Pro Football Focus, the Los Angeles Chargers had the worst offensive line in football last year, with every position needing an upgrade. Storm Norton had the highest PFF grade of the bunch at 65.1, which is a very bad thing.
The offense is going to be great as long as Herbert and superstar receiver Keenan Allen are healthy. However, this unit has a chance to join the elite ranks if they give Herbert even a league-average offensive line. When you’re sharing a division with Patrick Mahomes, you need to prioritize offense, and nobody would go further in improving protection than Joe Thuney.