The Pats have now locked up Aaron Hernandez to a new long-term contract extension, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Monday morning.
Now both young TEs locked up long term: Patriots reached agreement with TE Aaron Hernandez on long-term contract extension, per NFL source.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) August 27, 2012
New England now has Hernandez and fellow tight end standout Rob Gronkowski signed for the foreseeable future. According to ESPN.com’s Mike Reiss, the extension will keep Hernandez in New England through the 2018 season. Gronkowski signed a six-year deal worth a reported $54 million in June that will keep him a Patriot through the 2019 season.
The Boston Globe reports that Hernandez’s deal, which comes with a $12.5 million signing bonus, could be worth up to $40 million. The Globe also reports that Hernandez will donate $50,000 to the Myra Kraft Foundation as a thank you to Patriots owner Robert Kraft for drafting him and presenting him with a new deal ahead of schedule.
Hernandez is entering his third year with the Patriots after being drafted out of Florida in the fourth round of the 2010 NFL draft. Hernandez has played in 14 games in each of his first two seasons, which included a dramatic increase in his numbers from his first to second season. The tight end caught 79 passes for 910 yards last season while hauling in seven touchdowns.
His versatility is also a pretty big factor. Hernandez has shown the ability to not only line up as a tight end, but also move out to the slot or even into the backfield.