- Mike Reiss, ESPN Staff Writer
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When comparing the contracts signed by tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez, each have positive aspects to them.
Here are some of the key parts without getting into too much of the nitty-gritty:
Total maximum value
Gronkowski: $55 million
Hernandez: $40 million
Total contract length
Gronkowski: $8 million
Hernandez: $12.5 million ($6 million up front, $3.25 million of March of 2013, and $3.25 million in March of 2014)
Gronkowski: $540,000 (2012), $630,000 (2013), $3.75 million (2014), $4.75 million (2015), $2.25 million (2016), $4.25 million (2017), $8 million (2018), $9 million (2019)
Hernandez: $540,000 (2012); $1.323 million (2013), $1.2 million (2014), $2.3 million (2015), $5 million (2016), $6 million (2017), $6 million (2018)
ANALYSIS: Gronkowski has a higher earning ceiling, which he can feel good about if he performs at a high level over the course of the deal. One key part of his contract is a $10 million option bonus the team can pick up on the final day of the 2015 league year. That activates the final four years of the contract. For Hernandez, his ceiling might not be as high, but he received more up-front bonus money and also has one less year on his contract. The deal for Hernandez looks more “real” in the sense that he could realistically play it out as it doesn’t have the volatile spike that Gronkowski’s does in the final two years when it comes to base salaries.