Oakland Raiders fans were waiting for roster news on this Labor Day. They were hoping it pertained to an acquisition of an inside linebacker. What they did not expect was to hear that Sebastian Janikowski was at a stand off over contract negotiations. Apparently, Adam Schefter of ESPN is reporting just that.
Report: Oakland Raiders and Sebastian Janikowski in Contract Dispute
In fact, Janikowski has not been seen in an actual game since week two of the pre-season. This has added to the speculation that he might be on the outs with the Raiders. A common tactic when a team is expecting to release a player is to avoid the possibility of an injury settlement.
There is also that $4.41 million contract this season. According to Over the Cap, if the Reggie decided to cut bait on Janikowski, that would free up $4.05 million in cap savings. Minus, of course, the cost of a replacement. At 4pm EST on Saturday, September 9th, that money becomes fully guaranteed.
Now this could mean one of two things.
First, the above story could be accurate. If that is the case something has to give by Saturday or someone else might be kicking for the Raiders when they take on the Tennessee Titans on Sunday. On that same note though, this could be nothing more than a leverage tactic bringing in three kickers as a show of force.
Second, and much more likely, is that Janikowski is not sure he can go because of an injury. Schefter added that possibility after the initial article that just said contract dispute. It’s definitely possible that he’s dealing with some sort of ailment. This contract stuff has been discussed at length for years, and yet the Raiders have never made a move before.
Also, had the money seriously been an issue the Raiders would certainly brought another kicker on during the pre-season. And they would have already moved on from Janikowski should he have balked at a reworked contract offer.
Ultimately, it comes down to timing. The 53-man roster has already came out with Janikowski’s name on it. That never would have happened if they were planning on cutting him in less than a week.
And then there is Ian Rapoport.
#Raiders worked out three kickers today, as K Sebastian Janikowski’s back continues to give him issues. Source said he looked “awful” today.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) September 5, 2017
So for now, let’s hope he recovers from his injury before kick-off, and if not, that he is back sooner than later, because the Raiders need a kicker with ice water in his veins.
Expect Janikowski to be kicking for the Raiders in 2017, and quite possibly beyond.