With Rob Gronkowski under contract for the rest of the decade, questions have cropped up about the Patriots’ plans for their other tight end.
Aaron Hernandez was drafted two rounds after Gronkowski in 2010 and he has turned in 124 catches for 1,473 yards in his first two seasons. Those numbers aren’t quite as big as Gronkowski’s, but they don’t come with the same level of blocking skill that Gronkowski offers. That’s why it is unlikely Hernandez will see anything like the $54 million Gronkowski got in his extension.
Will Hernandez get an extension at all? Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald reports no talks are afoot on a deal for Hernandez. Howe suggests Hernandez should follow Gronkowski’s lead and “jump on the guaranteed money ahead of time.” It’s a pretty big assumption that the choice belongs to Hernandez.
He still has two years left on his rookie deal and Gronkowski’s deal means that the franchise tag will be available for the Pats after the 2013 season. Paying two tight ends a large chunk of the salary cap might not be wise, but the predicted value of the tag wouldn’t be too much for New England to swallow. And that’s jumping to the conclusion that nothing changes in the next two years to make that prospect less appealing.
There’s no reason to think Hernandez is going to be anywhere but New England, but there’s also no reason to assume that an extension for him is next on New England’s to-do list.