It would have been a shock if Sinclair Broadcast Group hadn’t renewed the CBS affiliation agreements for 16 of its stations that serve 7 million households. But it’s surprising to see it agree to the renewals now: Most of the contracts didn’t expire until next year.

By agreeing now to what it calls a “long term” deal, Sinclair has “visibility on our network programming costs,” General Counsel Barry Faber says. That “positions us to appropriately price our retransmission consent rights in our negotiations with [cable and satellite companies] as we move towards fully realizing the value of the programming offered by our stations.”

Sinclair has said that about 80% of its retransmission deals were up for renewal between February 2015 and mid-2016.

Stations covered by the new terms serve 6% of the country. Markets include Albany-Schenectady, N.Y.; Bakersfield, Calif.; Beaumont, Texas; Boise, Idaho; Cincinnati, Ohio; Columbia-Jefferson City, Mo.; El Paso, Texas; Eugene, Ore.; Grand Rapids-Kalamazoo, Mich.; Harrisburg, Pa.; Medford, Ore.; Ottumwa, Iowa-Kirksville, Mo.; Quincy, Ill.-Hannibal, Mo.; West Palm Beach, Fla.; and Yakima, Wash.

CBS received ” full value for the programming we will provide to their stations,” Television Networks Distribution President Ray Hopkins says.

Sinclair also renewed CW affiliations for 23 stations it owns or operates, plus nine others for which it handles sales.