The New England Patriots have reportedly just agreed to a lucrative five-year contract extension with tight end Aaron Hernandez.
According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the deal, which locks in the 22-year-old athlete with the Patriots through 2018, will be worth $40 million — the second highest extension for an NFL tight end.
The extension also includes a $12.5-million signing bonus — the highest ever for a tight end.
ESPN.com indicated that the contract is expected to be signed in the next 24 hours.
A former University of Florida Gator, Hernandez was drafted by the Patriots with the 15th pick in the fourth round of the 2010 NFL Draft. In his two seasons as a pro, Hernandez has produced 124 receptions for 1,473 yards and 13 touchdowns for the Patriots.
Last season Aaron caught 79 passes for 910 yards and seven touchdowns.
According to Sportsworldreport.com, Hernandez celebrated his $40 million deal by donating $50,000 to the Myra Kraft Foundation, the charity named after the late wife of Patriots owner Robert Kraft, “out of respect for Robert drafting him, [and] for doing his deal two years early.”
Hernandez’ contract with the Pats comes on the heels of All-Pro Rob Gronkowski’s six-year, $54 million extension — the richest deal for a tight end in NFL history — with the team just two months ago.
Prior to signing their record-breaking contracts, Hernandez and Gronkowski also made history on the field in 2011, combining for NFL tight end records with 169 receptions and 2,237 yards and 24 touchdowns.
ESPN’s Mike Reiss checks in with SportsCenter on what the long-term deals for Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski mean for Wes Welker in the following video clip: