INDIANAPOLIS - NOVEMBER 14: Jermaine Gresham #84 of the Cincinnati Bengals runs with the ball after catching a pass during the Bengals 23-17 loss to the Indianapolis Colts in the NFL game at Lucas Oil Stadium on November 14 2010 in Indianapolis Indiana. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
On Friday, the NFL world learned that New England Patriots tight end, Rob Gronkowski, signed a mega-extension with the club. The Patriots were extremely generous with Gronkowski, as they inked him to a six-year $54 million extension, making him the highest-paid tight end in NFL history. Though he's only going into his third season, "Gronk" has definitely earned the extension because of his revolutionizing of the position.
The Cincinnati Bengals have a solid young tight end of their own in Jermaine Gresham, who was coincidentally drafted ahead of Gronkowski in the 2010 NFL Draft. While Gresham hasn't had the career that Gronkowski has had in his two seasons, he has put up respectable numbers and the time is nearing for the club to think about an extension for their tight end as well.
What does the Gronkowski extension mean for Gresham and the Bengals? Though Gresham won't command as much money as his counterpart, the Gronkowski contract will be used as a barometer for Gresham's agent to use when dealing with the club (or any others) in the future. Even more ironic, Gresham made the 2011 Pro Bowl as an alternate, relieving Gronkowski and that will be some ammunition for Gresham's camp.
Even though they have had plenty of cap space, the Bengals have frustrated fans recently with their frugal spending. There have been rumblings that a lot of this space will be used in the near future to lock up guys like Gresham and Geno Atkins, which would be a wise move. If you remember last offseason, the club made a flurry of extensions to Andrew Whitworth, Leon Hall, and Kyle Cook, so we could see the same thing again in 2012.
They'll need to move quickly here to extend their young studs, as the more time that passes the less likely they'll be able to lock them up. There's no doubt though--Gronkowski's contract will have implications on Gresham's next contract.