After inking Rob Gronkowski to a hefty six-year, $53 million extension this offseason, the New England Patriots made another big move on Monday with their other star tight end, Aaron Hernandez, to make sure he’ll be around for just about as long as his teammate.
Hernandez agreed to a five-year extension for $40 million–which means the Patriots have Hernandez locked in through the 2018 season and Gronkowski through the 2019 season. Hernandez has been a reliable target for Tom Brady in the passing game over his first two seasons in New England and is coming off a 2011 campaign in which he caught 79 passes for 910 yards and seven touchdowns.
With the signing, it’s safe to say New England will arguably have the league’s top pass-catching duo at tight end for at least the next five or six years. It’s one thing for defenders to struggle against an effective pass-catching tight end, but when a team has two tight ends like Gronkowski and Hernandez, it can be nearly impossible at times.
Of course, the main question everybody wants to know now is how Wes Welker must be feeling about this recent signing. The wideout was already frustrated with the organization for not giving him a long-term despite being one of the league’s top players over the last five years.
Welker is making plenty of money during the 2012 season, but the fact that Robert Kraft and company were willing to reward their beloved tight ends with long-term deals has to be frustrating on his end. Either way, give the Patriots credit for taking care of Gronkowski and Hernandez now so they don’t have to worry about it in a few years.
Dan Parzych is the Director of Content for RantSports.com
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