According to Brian McIntyre of MacsFootballBlog.com (and later confirmed by Mike Reiss of ESPN Boston), the Patriots have inked linebacker Rob Ninkovich to a two year contract extension that will keep the versatile player under contract with the team through 2013.
In his new deal, his scheduled $685,000 base salary (which had increased by $35,000 via the new collective bargaining agreement) remains, with the Ninkovich receiving a $2 million signing bonus and $900,000 base salaries in 2012 and 2013. Ninkovich can also earn $100,000 workout bonuses in 2012 and 2013, and there are undisclosed base salary escalators in 2013.
In the past, the Patriots have helped maintain continuity in their franchise by re-signing mid-level veterans still under contract to below market deals that ensure that the team keeps competitive depth, while allowing that player to gain some job / financial security. Ninkovich's deal seems to fall under a similar category.
Having a player like Ninkovich around is always a positive. As he has proven this season, Ninkovich is very scheme versatile. He's the team's starting strong-side linebacker, and got some playing time in as a defensive end with his hand in the dirt. If the Patriots decide to switch back to the 3-4 at some point, Ninkovich is one of the better options the Patriots have as an early down outside linebacker.