The Oakland Raiders have informed kicker Sebastian Janikowski that they will not bring him back for the 2018 season. Janikowski was drafted number 17 overall in the first round by the Raiders back in the 2000 draft. He spent all of his 18 seasons to date in the Silver and Black.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter broke the story:
Raiders informed kicker Sebastian Janikowski today that they do not plan to bring him back for the 2018 season, per source. An 18-year run with Raiders comes to an end.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) February 14, 2018
Oakland Raiders to Release Longtime Kicker Sebastian Janikowski
The move is not surprising considering Janikowski sat out the entire 2017 season with a back injury. There were even talks he would be cut before the season started. Instead, he took a $1 million pay cut to remain with the team in September. Only a few days later he was placed on injured reserve.
Giorgio Tavecchio, who was a frequent camp leg, ended up taking over the starting role in his absence. He filled in nicely, going 16/21 on field goals for the season. This likely was the nail in the coffin for Janikowski, as it made him expendable. Having a good kicker is becoming more important for teams these days. Many teams went through multiple kickers during last season. The Raiders likely wanted to stick with the younger Tavecchio while they had the chance, instead of risking losing him to another team.
Had Oakland retained Janikowski, he would have been the only player left on the roster from new head coach Jon Gruden’s first stint with the Raiders. Now, it signals the end of the one constant that the Raiders had on the team after Gruden left.
On his career, Janikowski made 414 out 515 of his field goals, with a healthy 80 percent made. He also is tied with a few other NFL players for the second longest field goal ever made at 63 yards. There is an argument for him getting into the Hall of Fame with these numbers, but as a kicker, he faces an uphill battle.