DENVER, CO - DECEMBER 18: Tight end Rob Gronkowski #87 of the New England Patriots runs with the ball against free safety Quinton Carter #28 the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on December 18, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, the Patriots have agreed to a six-year, $54 million contract extension with tight end Rob Gronkowski. The deal will reportedly make Gronkowski the highest paid tight end in NFL history.
Gronkowski, 23, was the Patriots' second-round pick back in 2010 out of the University of Arizona. In his sophomore year in the NFL, Gronk set several unprecedented records at his position, as he caught 90 passes for 1,327 yards and scored 18 total touchdowns. Truly a star in the making.
Gronkowski and fellow tight end Aaron Hernandez have formed the best one-two tight end punch in the NFL today, and one of the best in league history. They always pose a difficult matchup for any given defense of teams playing the Pats on Sunday. At 6-foot-6 and 265 pounds, Gronkowski's combination of size and athleticism makes him almost impossible to match up against.
My initial reaction to this is that both sides did very well with this extension. The Patriots benefit because they were able to avoid future contract conflicts with young star players, like they ran into with Deion Branch and Richard Seymour. Gronkowski benefits because he's going to get paid like he plays. He will get a significant raise in 2012 from his expected $540,000 from this year. As long as Gronk continues to put up numbers at least close to his 2011 numbers, this is truly a great deal for both sides.