One of the lone constants of a modern NFL marked by roster churn and and an endless push towards maximum efficiency finally came to an end today. Starting next season, fans will no longer be able to look at an Oakland Raiders roster and say, “Huh. Sebastian Janikowski’s still there, I guess.”
The Raiders said today that they will not re-sign their first-round draft pick from 2000, a kicker who has scored a franchise-record 1,799 points across 18 seasons. Janikowski didn’t play at all during the 2017 season, getting placed on injured reserve before the season opener and ceding his duties to Giorgio Tavecchio. In 2016, he was a slightly above-average kicker, going 29-of-35 despite only hitting 3-of-8 from beyond 50 yards. He’s tied with three other dudes for the second-longest field goal of all-time (63 yards), and one time he banged in a 70-yarder in practice:
It’d be hyperbole to describe Janikowski as anything more than a solid player, and it’s still kind of hilarious, despite his longevity, that the Raiders took a kicker with a first-round pick over Shaun Alexander. But Janikowski was a comforting, reliable presence in the silver and black, and one of the Raiders’ only worthwhile players while Oakland meandered through the 2000s. He’s the rare remaining NFL guy who would actually look out of place in another team’s uniform.
Janikowski turns 40 in March, and it’s hard to see another team picking him up for anything more than the league minimum. It may not all be over, however. Adam Vinatieri, who’s 45 and essentially in the same talent tier as Janikowski, has said that he’ll be back with the Colts for a 23rd NFL season.