In recently signing outside linebacker Rob Ninkovich to a contract extension through 2011, news which just came to light Saturday, the Patriots continue to work the mid-level in building their team for the long-term.
Offensive linemen Nick Kaczur (2012) and Mark LeVoir (2011), receiver Sam Aiken (2011), linebacker Eric Alexander (2010), and Ninkovich have all signed modest extensions this season. An agreement had also been struck with linebacker Tully Banta-Cain, but that has not been finalized.
It seems as if the NFL's uncertain labor forecast is playing a role in the team's decision-making. The Patriots must plan for the future, but in doing so, most of the extensions that have been struck have limited risk for the team in the event there is no football in 2011.
While the players signed to extensions might not be the biggest names, all have consistently been active on the 45-man game-day roster and provide important depth.
Still, the big question remains with nose tackle Vince Wilfork, whose contract expires at the end of the season. Wilfork has been immense and figures to command big money should he hit the open market.