The Patriots appear to be making sure Gronkowski isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. (FILE:Icon/SMI)

Third year tight end Rob Gronkowski has spent the first two years in the NFL building what appears to be potentially be a Hall of Fame career, and it appears the Patriots want to make sure he’s paid accordingly to ensure he sticks around for the long-term.

According to ProFootballTalk.com the Patriots have reached an agreement on an extension with Gronkowski, which will reportedly replace the final two remaining years of his rookie deal.

The former second round pick was scheduled to make $540,000 in 2012 and $575,000 in 2013, which was well below his value considering his production.  However, to this point no details of a new deal have been released and his agent denied a new deal to Mike Florio.

In a piece I wrote a couple of weeks ago, I wondered if the fact that Wes Welker hadn’t yet received the money he was looking for with a new deal was due to the fact the Patriots front office was potentially considering making the tough decision between keeping him or instead possibly looking at instead extending Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez earlier than after next season.

After a decade where Bill Belichick had taken at least one tight end in 9 out of 12 drafts, it’s likely that after finally landing exactly the two guys Belichick was hoping he’d find, the top priority should be keeping those two players around for the long term. ¬†From an age standpoint Welker is 31, while¬†Gronkowski (23) and Hernandez (22) are obviously a lot younger and clearly the future of this offense.

Fortunately for now it appears they’ve locked up one and if all goes well hopefully we’ll see Hernandez locked up next. Either way, interestingly enough, this may be the last time times we see something like this done. As Florio points out, under the pre-2011 Collective Barganing Agreemet, rookie deals may be renegotiated after two years. As of 2011, rookie contracts cannot be re-done until the player has three years of service. Both players were drafted in 2010, so the former rule applies and that opened up the chance for Gronkowski to cash in on what has been an incredible start to his career.