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Patriots extend LB Jonathan Freeny's contract through 2016

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The New England Patriots have extended the contract of linebacker Jonathan Freeny through 2016, ESPN NFL Insider Field Yates reports.

Freeny, who signed a one-year deal with the Patriots on March 11, has emerged as a core special-teams player in New England after spending 2011-14 with Miami. He shared his "football journey" with ESPN.com last week.

Freeny would have been an unrestricted free agent after the 2015 season. As part of the extension through 2016, he receives a $500,000 signing bonus. His base salary for 2016 will be $1 million and he can earn an additional $250,000 in roster bonuses.

Through the first two games of the season, Freeny has played 37 special-teams snaps. Coaches have credited him with a tackle, and he also serves as a top backup at linebacker behind Dont'a Hightower, Jamie Collins and Jerod Mayo.