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Rob Ninkovich signs with Patriots for another year

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- New England Patriots defensive end Rob Ninkovich, who is serving a four-game NFL suspension for testing positive for a banned substance, has signed a one-year contract extension with the club through 2017, a source involved with the negotiations confirmed.

The extension, which was first reported by The Boston Globe, saves Ninkovich money he would have lost as a result of his suspension. A source said Ninkovich was appreciative of the team's willingness to strike the deal because he would have otherwise lost as much as $475,000 in base salary and bonuses.

Ninkovich received a $1.5 million signing bonus and gets a $1 million base salary in 2016 and a $1 million base salary in 2017 as well. He can earn an additional $1 million in bonuses in 2017.

A team captain in 2015, Ninkovich, 32, has been with the Patriots since the 2009 season, making him one of the club's longest-tenured players.

He had played in 116 straight games (including playoffs) leading into the 2016 season and has 47 career sacks (including playoffs). Coach Bill Belichick has praised his leadership, toughness, versatility and pass-rush skills.

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