Is pursuing Joe Thuney in free agency a necessity for Cleveland Browns?

HOUSTON, TX - DECEMBER 01: Joe Thuney #62 of the New England Patriots rests on the bench in the second half against the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium on December 1, 2019 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - DECEMBER 01: Joe Thuney #62 of the New England Patriots rests on the bench in the second half against the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium on December 1, 2019 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images) /

The Cleveland Browns are expected to pour money into their offensive line this offseason, so is pursuing Joe Thuney a necessity for this offseason?

The Cleveland Browns offensive line has been the talk of the offseason for the organization, and it is a position group that will be a focus of the Andrew Berry led front office. One of the names who may draw attention from the Cleveland Browns is Joe Thuney.

Thuney has started every game for the New England Patriots since being drafted in the third round of the 2016 NFL Draft. Thuney has consistently performed for the Patriots and he has established himself as one of the best offensive guards in the NFL.

The 27-year-old is one of the top offensive linemen available in free agency this offseason and is expected to land a lucrative contract. The Browns have been connected to Thuney, as’s Mary Kay Cabot reported that the Browns have their eyes on the guard.

"Patriots left guard Joe Thuney, a native of Centerville, Ohio, will become free on March 18 after starting all 64 games over the past four seasons at left guard for New England. Of course, Thuney would likely have to switch to the right side, and the Browns will have to ante up. According to, he could land an average of almost $11 million a year. A chance to sign Thuney is a reason the Browns will let a guy like Schobert walk and won’t bring Olivier Vernon back at his team-high $15.25 million salary. – via"

There are only two positions settled on the Browns offensive line entering the offseason with Joel Bitonio at left guard and J.C. Tretter at center. The other three starting positions are certainly up for grabs and the new front office will look to improve the protection for Baker Mayfield. However, right guard has been lost in the shuffle as much of the focus has been on the Browns improving at both left and right tackle.

The belief is the Browns will pay for and sign one of the top offensive tackles in free agency and then select one of the top offensive tackles available in the draft with the 10th overall pick. If the Browns follow through with that much investment in the offensive line, would it make sense to also sign the top interior linemen in free agency?

Although right guard was not a strong point for the Browns in 2019, the position was not as big of an issue once Wyatt Teller became the full-time starter. He still had struggles, allowing 16 pressures in 11 games, according to Pro Football Focus, and was also not as stout as a run blocker as desired. It is understandable why the Browns are considering replacing him, but they may not need to spend the money they would need to in order to sign Thuney.

With Bill Callahan as Cleveland’s new offensive line coach, there is a chance he could improve Teller’s performance. Callahan has been known to help develop young offensive linemen into technicians. Perhaps with improved technique, Teller could see his performance improve under Callahan.

However, if the Browns feel they do need to make a change at guard, the offensive guard free agent class is extremely top-heavy. Behind Thuney and Graham Glasgow, both of whom may require a deal averaging more than $10 million per year, there are few options who would be considered a notable improvement.

Cleveland could pursue a player like Greg Van Roten, who had one of the best seasons in his career in 2019. The 30-year-old is an under the radar player who would not need a significant contract like Thuney or Glasgow and would still be an improvement. Van Roten suffered a season-ending toe injury in November, and his impact was clear as Carolina’s offensive line struggled mightily after his injury.

The Browns could also take a look at the offensive guard draft class in the middle rounds. Offensive linemen are tough to hit on in the draft, but offensive guards selected in the middle rounds of the draft tend to have more success compared to offensive tackles selected in the draft.

Cleveland’s decision at right guard will come down to how they feel about Teller. However, even if they feel they need an upgrade, pursuing Thuney should not be a necessity. Shelling out two monster contracts on the offensive line could hinder the Browns payroll flexibility once they need to hand out extensions over the next few seasons.

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Thuney may be the top interior offensive linemen available, but Cleveland has more options to improve the position compared to offensive tackle. Thuney may be the top guard available, but the Browns do not need to pursue the best guard this offseason.