Big news came down from Patriots camp on Friday afternoon as ESPN’s Adam Schefter announced that the Pats and tight end Rob Gronkowski have agreed on a six-year, $54 million extension. The six-year deal includes $18.17 million guaranteed and will keep Gronk under contract until 2019.
This comes as somewhat surprising news considering the fact that the Patriots had Gronk, one of the league’s elite tight ends, locked up for the next few years for short money under his rookie contract.
The 23-year old tight end is scheduled to make a base salary of just $540,000 and $575,000 0ver the next two years, but now, with this extension, will become the highest-paid tight end in NFL history.
The team obviously wanted to lock up Gronk long-term sooner rather than later to avoid any contract disputes and, frankly, it’s pretty easy to see why. Gronk was arguably Tom Brady‘s most important target in 2011-2012, catching 90 passes for 1,327 yards and 17 touchdowns last season, while also adding a two-yard touchdown that technically went into the stats as a rushing attempt. He also set an NFL record for most touchdowns in a single season by a tight end and most receiving yards by a tight end.
I think it’s safe to say that most Patriots fans are completely okay with this deal being made a few years before necessary.