Rob Ninkovich might not be able to play during the first four weeks of the 2016 season, but he's successfully shed the lame-duck linebacker status.
Ninkovich and the New England Patriots agreed to a two-year contract extension worth $4.7 million that keeps the 32-year-old under team control through 2017, according to report from the Boston Globe. The deal could be worth as much as $5 million based on playing time and incentives, the Globe added.
The veteran linebacker, suspended for a violation of the NFL's Policy and Program on Substances of Abuse, was scheduled to become a free agent after the 2016 season. His absence creates a pass-rushing void for the Patriots' defense, but it's evident that in extending him another season, they aren't letting the suspension or his age discount his value.
The new deal is also notable because it cuts Ninkovich's base salary by $500,000, lowering the amount of money he'd lose per game due to the suspension by a total of $118,000.