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Report: Patriots sign Rob Ninkovich through 2016 for $15 million

09.22.13 at 10:35 am ET
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FOXBORO — When Rob Ninkovich takes the field Sunday against Tampa Bay he’ll be doing so with a brand new contract extension in tow.

ESPNBoston.com’s Mike Reiss reported Sunday morning that the pass rushing specialist has been signed to a contract extension through 2016 worth more than $15 million. The Boston Herald’s Jeff Howe reports the signing bonus is worth $8.5 million. Ninkovich was scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent after this season before news of the three-year deal broke Sunday. He was in the final year of a two year, $5.4 million deal.

The Patriots signed Ninkovich Aug. 2, 2009 and the Purdue product made the Patriots’ 53-man roster. He recorded his first NFL sack in Week 5 against the Denver Broncos. He received his first contract extension through the 2011 season on Nov. 6, 2009.

Ninkovich played in 15 games for the Patriots in 2009, finishing with 23 tackles and one sack. Ninkovich returned in 2010, beginning the season as a starter at outside linebacker. In the team’s Week 4 game against the Dolphins on Monday Night Football, Ninkovich recorded his first career interception, and later in the game added another interception and a sack. He finished the season with a career-high 62 tackles, four sacks, and two interceptions in 16 games played (10 starts).

In 2011, Ninkovich recorded his first NFL touchdown when he intercepted a pass from Jets QB Mark Sanchez and returned it 12 yards for the touchdown. He also had another interception in the 3rd quarter of the same game when Jerod Mayo tipped the ball and Ninkovich caught it. Ninkovich had the best statistical season of his career, recording 74 tackles, 6.5 sacks, two interceptions (one returned for a touchdown), a forced fumble, and three recovered fumbles while starting all 16 games regular season games.

During the Patriots’ 2011 playoff run, Rob recorded five tackles, 1.5 sacks, one tackle for a loss, and two quarterback hits against the Broncos during the Divisional Playoff game. Rob also recorded seven tackles against the Ravens during the AFC championship.

In 2012, he was moved to defensive end, his previous starting outside linebacker position being filled by rookie Dont’a Hightower. Ninkovich, starting opposite rookie Chandler Jones, led the team with 8 sacks and netted 58 tackles. He also forced five fumbles, including two in a game against the Broncos and a game-ending overtime strip sack against the Jets.

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