Reports: Historic Aaron Hernandez deal keeps Patriots TE combo intact

Monday August 27th, 2012

Aaron Hernandez has reached record-breaking deal with Patriots. (Will McNamee/Getty Images)

The New England Patriots and wide receiver Wes Welker have yet to agree on a contract extension, but the team assured itself of having its two valuable tight ends in the passing game for years to come.

The Patriots are putting the final touches on a five-year contract extension for Aaron Hernandez, according to multiple reports.  The Boston Globe reports the deal 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. Hernandez will be guaranteed $16 million.

Hernandez was in line to become a free agent after the 2013 season. His extension means the Patriots will continue to field the league's most productive tight end combo.

The team gave tight end Rob Gronkowski a six-year, $54 million extension earlier this offseason.

Hernandez has produced 124 receptions for 1,473 yards and 13 touchdowns in his two seasons as a Patriot. Hernandez and Gronkowski made history last season, combining for NFL tight end records with 169 receptions and 2,237 yards and 24 touchdowns.

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