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Joe Thuney contract projection

It may cost a pretty penny or two.

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New England Patriots v Miami Dolphins Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images

The Cincinnati Bengals are poised to make a big splash when NFL free agency begins in March.

The hope is said splash involves the team signing a big-time offensive lineman who will help ensure Joe Burrow doesn’t finish 2021 on injured reserve again.

To this point, all of the focus has been on New England Patriots guard Joe Thuney, who finished this past season with a 74.2 Pro Football Focus grade. Not only is he one of, if not the best guard to hit the market with the Bengals struggling mightily at both guard spots, Thuney is also an Ohio native by way of Centerville, which isn’t even an hour drive to Cincinnati.

So it makes too much sense for the Bengals to, at the very least, be one of the top suitors for Thuney when he hits the open market. But how much will it take to sign one of the top overall offensive lineman to hit free agency in 2021?

Spotrac has been projecting market value deals for the top players set to hit free agency this year. When it came to Thuney, he’s projected to get a five-year deal worth $76,842,460, which would include an annual salary of $15,368,492. It would also make him the 69th-highest paid NFL player if you’re into that sort of thing.

If the Bengals are going to attack free agency with a protect-Burrow-at-all-costs approach, that will be put to the test if they want to land a guy like Thuney.