Kraft: Patriots 'step up' to do Gronk deal

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft spoke about the recent contract extension for tight end Rob Gronkowski on Wednesday, explaining the decision to keep the 23-year old tight end with the team through potentially 2019.

"In this age of salary cap and what's going to happen the next few years with the cap, you have to have a core group of players that you can plan around that's the foundation of your team," Kraft said. "He's a young player who we feel is the best at his position, so we decided to step up and do what we thought was in the team's best long-term interest."

Speaking at the New England Patriots Charitable Foundation's luncheon, where more than $100,000 was awarded to local nonprofits, Kraft said that he likes what he sees at minicamp this week, after taking in parts of the Patriots' Wednesday practice.

"First of all, we had 100 percent of our guys here. I think our personnel department and (head coach) Bill (Belichick) have done an outstanding job in collecting talent and potential on both sides of the ball," Kraft said. "I'm very excited about this season to start. I can't wait for football to come back."