Even though placekickers in the NFL have seen their respective values and reputations increase over the last 25 years, one has to wonder why a team would go out of its way to hold onto one. Sure, there might be five or six very good kickers in the league today, but the rest are absolutely interchangable. They don’t have to memorize plays, they don’t suffer from physical wear and tear like their heftier counterparts, and few (if any) have any effect on the club’s demeanor as a whole.
But with Oakland Raiders kicker Sebastian Janikowski, as with most things Raiders, that logic seemed to fly out the window. Janikowski just re-signed with a four-year deal that will pay him $16 million. That’s slightly less per year than Sage Rosenfels agreed to with the pre-Favre Vikings last year. Janikowski, who would have been eligible for free agency in eight days, will get $9 million guaranteed. That’s an insane valuation of a player whom, as far as anyone knows, does not lay golden eggs.
But seriously, how does Oakland get any return whatsoever on this deal? It’s not like Raiders fans are buying up all the No. 11 jerseys they can in Oakland. Nobody is wandering into Alameda to watch this guy kick, not that any of those kicks would shift a 5-11 season to a 6-10 season. It’s hard to justify having a big-game kicker when your team doesn’t play in any.