FOXBOROUGH — By and large, Patriots coach Bill Belichick decided to let Aaron Hernandez’s five-year, $40 million extension speak for itself this morning.
“We wouldn’t do it if we weren’t in support of it, as an organization, me personally, all of the above,” Belichick said.
Along with a $12 million signing bonus, $16 million is guaranteed to the 23-year-old tight end, who caught 79 passes for 910 yards and seven touchdowns last season.
“Aaron has improved a lot,” Belichick said. “He’s worked hard, he’s improved a lot in all phases of the game: passing game, running game, protection and his overall versatility. He’s done a good job for us.”
Beyond that, Belichick was understated as the Patriots prepare for their last preseason game. He wouldn’t say whether quarterback Tom Brady would be on the field Wednesday against the Giants. He categorized Wes Welker, who returned to practice after missing the last preseason game against the Buccaneers, as “day-to-day.” He maintained that there was no update on guard Brian Waters, whose locker was in tact if empty.
He acknowledged that the hits that Brady took in the Bucs game were unacceptable and that the offense as a whole has underperformed in its exhibitions.
“You never want to see your quarterback get hit,” Belichick said. “But it’s a function of a lot of things: not getting rid of the ball, protection, routes, so there’s a lot of things come into play. Needs to be better all the way around. I mean, we haven’t played very well offensively in any game, with anybody, for any length of time so we’ve got a lot of work to do.”