Sebastian Janikowski Won't Return to Raiders After 18 Seasons, Hits Free Agency

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured Columnist

GLENDALE, AZ - AUGUST 12:  Kicker Sebastian Janikowski #11 of the Oakland Raiders during the NFL game against the Arizona Cardinals at the University of Phoenix Stadium on August 12, 2017 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

After missing all of last season with an injured back, kicker Sebastian Janikowski's time with the Oakland Raiders has come to an end after 18 seasons. 

The Raiders announced Janikowski's departure on Thursday after ESPN's Adam Schefter broke the news Wednesday that the kicker was informed he would not return next season.  

"The Raider Nation salutes Sebastian Janikowski as the sun sets on his illustrious career with the Oakland Raiders," team owner Mark Davis said in the release. "He joined the team as a surprise first-round pick in the 2000 Draft and finishes his time in Oakland as one of the greatest or perhaps the greatest kicker in pro football history.

"His powerful left leg produced an NFL-record 55 field goals of 50-or-more yards. The motto 'Once a Raider, Always a Raider' has never been more true as his 18-year career makes him the longest-tenured player in Raiders history. Sebastian, his wife, Lori, and their three children will always be a loved and treasured part of the Raiders family."

Janikowski has spent his entire career with the Oakland Raiders to this point. The 39-year-old will become a free agent this offseason. Giorgio Tavecchio went 16-of-21 on field-goal attempts for the Raiders in 2017. 

During his time with the Raiders, Janikowski was one of the best kickers in the NFL. He trailed only Adam Vinatieri of the Indianapolis Colts and Phil Dawson of the Arizona Cardinals among active players in career points with 1,799. 

The Raiders famously made Janikowski a first-round pick out of Florida State in 2000.  He remains the third-highest drafted kicker in NFL history at No. 17 overall, behind Charlie Gogolak (No. 6 in 1966) and Steve Little (No. 15 in 1978). 

Janikowski is known for his powerful leg that made him the only kicker with multiple made field goals of at least 60 yards. He also holds the NFL record for most 50-yard field goals made, breaking the previous record of 52 held by Jason Hanson during a 2016 game against the Tennessee Titans

Given his extensive resume, Janikowski should generate interest from teams in search of an upgrade at kicker. He will have to prove his back injury is healed well enough for him to still tap into that power in his leg, but the potential upside remains high based on what he's done throughout his career.    

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