Sebastian Janikowski: Why He's Worth His Oakland Raiders Contract

Old AccountSenior Writer IFebruary 16, 2010

DENVER - DECEMBER 20:  Sebastian Janikowski #11 and Shane Lechler #9 of the Oakland Raiders celebrate the extra point after Chaz Schilens' touchdown in the fourth quarter against the Denver Broncos at Invesco Field at Mile High on December 20, 2009 in Denver, Colorado. The Raiders defeated the Broncos 20-19.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

The NFL offseason is just one week old, and already things are heating up. From trade rumors to reports of certain players entering free agency, this offseason should provide more excitement for year-round football fans.

For the Oakland Raiders, most questions have focused on the NFL Draft, as to whether or not owner Al Davis will surprise us all with his top-10 selection.

The front office is making different news, however, with the contract extension of kicker Sebastian Janikowski.

Janikowski has been a household name within the Raiders organization for years now. Whenever anything positive comes out of the Raiders, he is normally involved.

He is one of only three kickers to be selected in the first round; if you look at it, most fans do not think the selection has been exactly what they had hoped for.

You can not ignore the talent Janikowski has though, having the strongest leg of any kicker in the league.

This past season was probably his best in his career. He was 26-29 in field goals tries, the three misses coming from 45+ yards.

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He also kicked a 61-yard field goal, the fourth longest in NFL history.

And because of that, he earned a contract making him the highest paid kicker ever in the NFL.

The reported deal is four years/$16 million dollars, with nine million guaranteed.

My first reaction is that it's a typical deal Al Davis would give to one of his better players. In some sense, the contract is a pretty high amount, more than what we could have even expected this offseason.

But then it came to me that this contract makes sense for the Raiders' long-term plans.

Over this period of time, Janikowski will still have the strong leg to make the long field goals required for the Oakland Raiders.

The pieces are certainly their on offense: young receiving core, veteran running backs, and a quarterback that still has a chance to prove himself.

If the offensive line can be fixed through the draft and free agency, there will be more scoring opportunities for the Raiders, which includes positioning their high-priced kicker comfortably within his range.

Oakland Raiders fans can only see improvement, and these next few drafts will be key for them if they want to exit the mediocrity in which they have been stuck over the past few seasons.

However, by solidifying the offense, the situation can only get better for everyone involved. A legitimate offense will therefore allow Sebastian Janikowski to continue to show he is one of the best kickers in football.


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