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Gronkowski becomes highest paid tight end

The SportsXchange

New England Patriots tight endybecame the highest paid tight end in the history of the NFL on Friday.

Gronkowski and the Patriots agreed to a deal worth $55.23 million over six years, including $18.17 million guaranteed. The six-year deal is tacked on to the remaining two years on his rookie contract, which would've expired after the 2013 season.

The deal includes a $10 million bonus in 2016, a team option that comes as Gronkowski approaches his 27th birthday.

The yearly terms of his deal were not available, but a $9 million annual salary would surpass the contract of Seattle tight end Zach Miller, who is set to make $6.8 million in base salary in 2012. San Francisco's Vernon Davis will make $7.117 million in average salary. The Patriots recognized his value to the offense and his unconventional ability.

Gronkowski, who was a second-round pick in 2010, is still scheduled to earn base salaries of$540,000 in 2012 and $575,000 in 2013.

The former University of Arizona lineman was a breakout star last season. He set single-season records for tight ends, with 1,327 receiving yards and 17 touchdowns on 90 receptions.

His ankle injury in the AFC Championship Game last January was a major storyline during the Super Bowl two weeks later. One week after catching two passes for 26 yards in the Super Bowl loss, he had ankle surgery.
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