Updated 12:45 p.m. ET, Monday, Aug. 27
Multiple reports Monday morning said that the Patriots have agreed to terms on a long-term contract extension with TE Aaron Hernandez. According to NFL Network's Albert Breer, the deal is for five years and $37.5 million.
Hernandez, entering his third NFL season, reportedly will stay with the Patriots on a deal through the 2018 season. He had 79 catches for 910 yards and seven touchdowns in 14 games in 2011.
The signing of Hernandez, who doesn't turn 23 until November, follows on the heels of New England extending fellow TE Rob Gronkowski to a six-year, $53 million contract in June.
This means the team will have its dangerous TE tandem intact for what should be the rest of QB Tom Brady's career and possibly beyond.
The way we see it
It's no secret how valuable Hernandez is to Brady and the Patriots' offense. His versatility allows him to line up all over the field, from H-back to slot receiver to even running back. He was heading toward a potential franchise-tag disagreement down the line — is he a wide receiver or a tight end? So, this extension allows the Patriots to avoid having to deal with that situation by locking Hernandez up for the long term.
Many thought it would be impossible for New England to keep Hernandez and Gronkowski, but they found a way to do it and get it done early. This also might spell the end for WR Wes Welker, who is playing on the franchise tag this season. Numbers aren't in yet on Hernandez's deal but the Pats would be hard-pressed to do another multiyear deal with a starting pass catcher next offseason.