FOXBORO -- Rob Ninkovich won before New England even kicked off against Tampa Bay on Sunday. The starting right defensive end has signed a three-year contract extension worth over $15 million, according to agent Craig Domann. There is $8.5M of guaranteed money in the deal.
Ninkovich had easily the best season of his eight-year career in 2012. The 29-year-old led all Patriots in sacks with eight, and also forced five fumbles. But the effort was just another step up in the steady climb that began when Ninkovich came to New England in 2009.
After suffering through injuries and getting lost on two different rosters (New Orleans and Miami) as a sometimes special-teamer, he's flourished with the Patriots. Ninkovich is a versatile as a pass rusher, edge setter, and overall playmaking machine. His 11 fumble recoveries over the last three years are the most of any NFL player.
The Patriots have him locked up until 2016.