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Raiders agree to four-year, $16 million contract with Janikowski

  • By Associated Press
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ALAMEDA, Calif. -- Sebastian Janikowski and the Oakland Raiders agreed on a four-year, $16 million contract that is the richest for a kicker in NFL history, the team said Tuesday.

Janikowski will be guaranteed $9 million in the deal, a person familiar with the contract said on condition of anonymity because the team didn't announce terms.

Janikowski was eligible to become an unrestricted free agent if the Raiders didn't sign him or place the transition or franchise tag on him by Feb. 25. However, the team was able to lock him up by giving him the same contract that All-Pro punter Shane Lechler received last year to stay out of free agency.

Janikowski is coming off the best season of his 10-year NFL career. He made 26 of 29 field-goal attempts, with his only misses coning from 45, 57 and 66 yards. He made six kicks of at least 50 yards, including a 61-yarder that was the fourth-longest in league history.

Janikowski also had 17 touchbacks on 58 kickoffs for the sixth-best mark in the NFL last season.

The Raiders used the 17th overall pick to draft Janikowski in 2000, making him the first specialist in 21 years to go in the first round. But Janikowski didn't emerge as the game-changing kicker that owner Al Davis hoped for at the time, missing 10 field goals as a rookie and connecting on just 76 percent of his kicks during his first three seasons.

However, Janikowski rebounded and has been very consistent the past two seasons, making 41 of 44 attempts inside 50 yards. He became the Raiders' all-time leading scorer in 2008, and he has 1,000 career points.




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The Raiders traditionally have done a good job keeping their own free agents. Last February, they gave record deals to Lechler and star cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha and also awarded a big contract to defensive tackle Tommy Kelly in 2008.

The Raiders' focus now turns to defensive lineman Richard Seymour, who cost the team a 2011 first-round pick in a trade with the New England Patriots. He had four sacks, but two of them came during the season opener.

If the Raiders can't sign Seymour to a long-term deal by Feb. 25, the team is expected to use the franchise tag to keep him for next season. Seymour, a five-time Pro Bowl pick, then would be guaranteed $12.398 million.

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press

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