Speaking to reporters following a luncheon at Gillette Stadium for honorees of the Myra Kraft Community MVP Awards on Wednesday afternoon, team owner Robert Kraft addressed tight end Rob Gronkowski's recent extension.
"Weíre trying to always plan ahead for the future, do our strategic planning," Kraft said. "In this age of salary cap, whatís going to happen in the next few years with the cap, you have to have a core group of players that you can plan around as the foundation of your team."
The Globe's Greg A. Bedard reported the official numbers of Gronkowski's extension on Monday. At six years and $54 million, the extension is the richest ever for a tight end, but a sizable portion of the deal hinges on the Pats picking up a $10 million club option by Feb. 28, 2016.
"Heís a young player who we feel is the best at his position," Kraft said. "So we decided to step up and do what we thought was in the teamís best long-term interest."
The luncheon came shortly after the Patriots wrapped up their second day of minicamp.
"I think our personnel department and Bill [Belichick] have done an outstanding job collecting talent and potential on both sides of the ball," Kraft said. "Iím very excited about this season starting, canít wait for football to come back. Seeing as weíre six weeks away from training camp, Iím going to get all my sidebar stuff done and hopefully enjoy a great season here."