Giants middle linebacker Jasper Brinkley (53) tackles New England Patriots...

Giants middle linebacker Jasper Brinkley (53) tackles New England Patriots running back Brandon Bolden as Wade flies in to help out at MetLife Stadium on Sunday, Nov. 15, 2015. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

Jasper Brinkley ended the 2015 season as the Giants’ starting middle linebacker. Now he is back to try to keep that job for the beginning of 2016. Brinkley, a free agent, signed a one-year deal Tuesday to return to the team.

Brinkley will compete with recently signed linebacker Keenan Robinson for the job.

“There’s always competition,” Brinkley told “Nothing has ever been given to me. I have to earn it. Keenan is going to give great competition.”

Brinkley, 30, signed with the Giants just four days before last year’s opener after he was released by the Cowboys. He wound up starting the final nine games of the season and had 66 tackles, the third most on the team.

Even if he does not win the starting job, Brinkley figures to be a valuable asset in terms of depth and special-teams contributions.

Brinkley has played seven NFL seasons, the first six with the Vikings. In his final season in Minnesota, he started 11 games, so adjusting to a new team and a new role was a challenge for him last year.

“Once you’re used to being in the starting lineup, being in the situation I was in was very different,” Brinkley said. “I was tested last year, and being patient paid off for me in the end. When your number’s called, you have to be able to go out there and perform, and I feel I did that.”

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