OAKLAND, Calif. — In June, Sebastian Janikowski called it his “goal” to be still kicking for the Raiders in 2020 when they made their scheduled relocation from Oakland to Las Vegas.
He might not make it to Sunday.
A Raiders staple since 2000, the 39-year-old kicker is at a contractual impasse with the franchise, according to an ESPN report. The standoff is logical given Janikowski is due a $4.05 million salary this season. It reportedly will become fully guaranteed if he’s on the roster Saturday at 1 p.m.
The Raiders worked out three kickers Monday, a source confirmed: Josh Lambo, Mike Nugent and Marshall Koehn. Should the club and Janikowski part ways, it also has Giorgio Tavecchio on speed dial. He spent the past three training camps with the team and was waived Saturday. He’s also a lefty like Janikowski; holder Marquette King is accustomed to that. Lambo, Nugent and Koehn are right-footed.
All this is likely a Plan B.
If the Raiders were intent on moving on from Janikowski, he’d not be on their roster at this stage. And if the team is to sign someone other than Tavecchio, it would’ve served it well to have allowed the kicker weeks of preparation with King.
Janikowski, a former first-round pick, made 25 of 26 field-goal attempts under 50 yards in 2016. He was 3-for-8 beyond that distance.
His kickoffs have seen a drop-off, but he is still the NFL’s all-time leader with 100 field goals of 50 or more yards. The Raiders no doubt value his experience and steadiness at the position.
But $4 million is $4 million.
Janikowski expressed his desire on June 14 to stick around long enough to become a Las Vegas Raider.
“I hope so,” he said. “I mean, that’s my goal. That’s not my decision.”
It seems the Raiders would disagree with that final point. That is, it’s his decision whether to accept a more team-friendly contract this week. If he does not, the team sent a message with Monday’s workout. A new kicker could be on the field Sunday when the Raiders open their season against the Tennessee Titans.
While the entirety of Janikowski’s salary will become fully guaranteed Saturday, a smaller portion of it — $238,235 — becomes fully guaranteed if he’s on the team Tuesday at 1 p.m., according to ESPN.
Contact reporter Michael Gehlken at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @GehlkenNFL on Twitter.