BOSTON (CBS) — Joe Thuney is officially leaving the Patriots.

The guard, regarded as one of the most sought-after free agents in 2021, is signing with the Kansas City Chiefs. Adam Schefter broke the news.

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The Patriots retained Thuney last offseason by placing the franchise tag on him and paying him nearly $15 million. The Chiefs are giving him the massive payday that was expected to come his way.

Thuney, 28, has been among the most reliable linemen in the entire NFL during his career. A third-round draft pick in 2016 out of North Carolina State, Thuney has started in all 80 regular-season games since entering the league, plus another 10 playoff games. He was on the field for 100 percent of the Patriots’ offensive snaps from 2016-18, before “dropping” to 99 percent in 2019 and 97 percent in 2020.

A report on Monday noted that the Patriots were still keeping communication open with Thuney in the hopes of potentially re-signing him, but the Chiefs went out and addressed a significant need on their line.

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The agreement with the Chiefs came on Monday, after the opening of the “legal tampering window.” Deals cannot be formally signed until Wednesday at 4 p.m. ET.