Raiders spend big money on their kicker

February, 16, 2010
2/16/10
1:50
PM ET
One thing about those Oakland Raiders: If you perform well for them, they will reward you handsomely.

[+] EnlargeSebastian Janikowski
Cary Edmondson/US PresswireSebastian Janikowski's new deal with the Raiders is reportedly the largest ever for a kicker.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter is reporting that the team and free-agent kicker Sebastian Janikowski just agreed to a new contract that will keep him with the team for four more years. Schefter reports Janikowski will receive $16 million in the deal with $9 million in guarantees, which would be the richest kicking contract in NFL history.

Last year, Oakland kept cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha and punter Shane Lechler (who got the same deal as Janikowski) off the market by giving them both record deals.

It is no surprise Oakland signed Janikowski. The two sides have long been working on a deal. Had he not been given an extension, Oakland likely would have given him the franchise or transition tag. This is a much better deal for Janikowski. He will average $4 million a year, which is more than a million dollars better than what the franchise tag is worth for kickers.

The guy has a huge leg. He nailed a 61-yarder last season and it wouldn’t shock me if he someday hit a 64-yarder to set a new NFL record. Along with Lechler and long-snapper Jon Condo, Janikowski completes perhaps the best trio of kicking specialists in the NFL. It was important for Oakland to keep him.

Still, the record deals Oakland keeps doling out have to be somewhat worrisome. It is going to catch up to the team at some point. Asomugha, Lechler and Janikowski are all great players, but frankly, they haven’t helped Oakland win consistently. All three players have been on Oakland’s roster during the past seven seasons in which Oakland has set an NFL record by losing at least 11 games in every season. It’s not these players’ fault, but they haven’t been difference-makers.

Sooner or later, Oakland has to get dividends for its expenditures. That leads us to Oakland’s next financial project: signing defensive end Richard Seymour.

He is an unrestricted free agent. Oakland has no choice but to keep Seymour, who’ll be looking for big money. Oakland traded its first-round pick to New England in 2011 for Seymour last September.

The Raiders can’t allow him to walk. If a new deal isn’t signed, Seymour will be given the franchise or transition tag.

It’s another offseason of big-money spending for Oakland. Will it ever pay off?

Bill Williamson | email

ESPN Oakland Raiders reporter

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