Pay raises for Ninkovich & Mesko

A pair of Patriots earned significant bumps in their 2013 base salary by reaching playing time and performance incentives during the 2012 season.

Defensive end Rob Ninkovich, who led the team with eight sacks and played more than 85 percent of the defensive snaps, will now earn $1.4 million, up from the previously scheduled total of $900,000.

In addition, punter Zoltan Mesko earned a raise of nearly $700,000, as his 2013 pay will now be $1.323 million, up from $630,000.

Both players will enter the final season of their contracts in 2013, and could be candidates for an extension this offseason.

Given his success in 2012 and his moderate salary for next season, Ninkovich could be considered one of the more team-friendly contracts that the Patriots have.

Performance- and incentive-based raises are not uncommon in the NFL, and many others around the league have already earned similar raises to those of Ninkovich and Mesko, as noted by the "Shutdown Corner" blog on Yahoo! Sports.