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New deal for Aaron Hernandez

New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez smiles

New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez smiles as he answers a question during Super Bowl XLVI Media Day at Lucas Oil Stadium on in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Jan. 31, 2012) Credit: AP

Not even three months after doling out a six-year, $54 million contract extension for tight end Rob Gronkowski, the Patriots have locked up their other prominent tight end, Aaron Hernandez, with a long-term deal.

Hernandez signed an extension that keeps him with the Patriots through the 2018 season with a deal reported to be worth $7.5 million per season and include $16.4 million in guaranteed money.

The Patriots’ passing game has increasingly focused on the tight ends, and it will stay that way for the foreseeable future with Gronkowski and Hernandez now locked up long term. What remains to be seen is what happens down the road with wide receiver Wes Welker, who is playing on a one-year, $9.5 million deal as the team’s franchise player. Welker had hoped to sign a long-term contract, but couldn’t agree on financial terms. 

New York Sports