Sebastian Janikowski and the Oakland Raiders agreed on a $16
million, four-year deal Tuesday that is the richest contract for a
kicker in NFL history, the team said.
Janikowski will be guaranteed $9 million in the deal, a
person familiar with the contract said on condition of anonymity
because the team did not announce terms.
Janikowski was eligible to be an unrestricted free agent if
the Raiders did not sign him to a contract or place the transition
or franchise tag on him by Feb. 25. But the team was able to lock
him up by giving him the same contract All Pro punter Shane Lechler
got a year ago to stay out of free agency.
Janikowski is coming off the best season of his 10-year
career. He made 26 of 29 field goals, with his only misses coning
from 45, 57 and 66 yards. He made six kicks of at least 50 yards,
including a 61-yarder that was the fourth longest in NFL history.
Janikowski also had 17 touchbacks on 58 kickoffs for the
sixth best mark in the league last season.
The Raiders used a first-round pick to draft Janikowski in
2000, making him the first specialist in 21 years to go in the
first round. Janikowski did not emerge as the game-changing kicker
owner Al Davis hoped for at the time.
He missed 10 field goals as a rookie, and connected on only
76 percent for his first three seasons. But he has been very
consistent the past two seasons, making 41 of 44 kicks inside of 50
yards. He became the all-time leading scorer in team history in
2008 and has 1,000 career points.
The Raiders have traditionally done a good job keeping their
own free agents. They gave record deals last February to keep
Lechler and star cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha and also gave a big
deal to keep defensive tackle Tommy Kelly in 2008.
The focus now turns to defensive lineman Richard Seymour.
Oakland traded a 2011 first-round pick to New England for Seymour
before last season. He had four sacks, but two of the them came in
the season opener.
If Oakland cannot sign Seymour to a long-term deal by Feb.
25, the team is expected to use the franchise tag to keep him for
next season. Seymour, a five-time Pro Bowler, would be guaranteed
$12,398,000 with a franchise tag.