As the No. 17 overall pick in the 2000 NFL draft by way of Florida State, Sebastian Janikowski has had quite a bit of hype to live up to.
After a rough rookie season, he did just that and became one of the most revolutionary special teams players in the history of the game.
Even though he garnered only a single Pro Bowl appearance, he is the Oakland Raiders’ all-time leading scorer and holds many other records. His most notable being most 50+ yard field goals made in a career with 55, passing long-time Detroit Lions kicker Jason Hanson who had 52 in 22 seasons.
After missing all of the 2017 season with a serious back ailment, the Oakland Raiders have informed the NFL that they will not be retaining the Polish cannon after 18 years on the job.
Although he will be 40 in less than a week, Sebastian Janikowski has no plans of hanging up the cleats and will be a hot commodity in free agency. Let’s get to fitting. Shall we?
Blair Walsh has further cemented his fall from his graceful rookie year and was without a doubt the absolute worst full-time placekicker in the NFL.
His 8 field goal misses were tied (Denver Broncos K Brandon McManus also had 8) for the most of any at his position with a majority of them coming in heartbreaking and embarrasing fashion.
After whiffing three kicks in a 3 point loss to the ‘Skins, airballing a 52-yarder against Atlanta, and missing a 48-yard game winner at the end of the season to possibly put them in the playoffs against the Arizona Cardinals, it’s time for a change.
It’s also time for general manager John Schneider to quit being cheap. With Seattle expecting to be a contender once healthy again, this fit makes absolute perfect sense.
LOS ANGELES CHARGERS
This team went through an unprecedented four, yes, FOUR placekickers last season. Injuries and inconsistency tell the tale of this story.
Rookie undrafted free agent signee Younghoe Koo struggled trememdously after beating out Josh Lambo for the team’s starting job. The Korean-born placekicker from Southern Georgia University missed half of his 6 attempts, including having a game winner in Denver blocked before being waived.
Nick Novak was brought back in shortly after the dismissal of Koo and was decent (9/13 FG’s, 17/18 PAT’s), but battled a back injury that forced him to miss the last 5 games of the year. Ex-Cleveland Browns placekicker Travis Coons was brought in for a few games before being waived in favor of Nick Rose who served as a replacement for the Washington Redskins’ Dustin Hopkins following a hip injury.
Accuracy was also a problem for them. They collectively missed 10 field goals and 5 extra points. This was a rather erratic group of guys.
Things got so bad, they even had punter Drew Kaser kicking extra po ints in the Thanksgiving day game against Dallas after Nick Novak injured his back.
Signing with a rival would be an enticing scenario for the soon to be 40-year old left footed bomber and would keep him in California.
Yet another placekicker situation filled with injuries and inconsistency.
They released Connor Barth after choking in the clutch one too many times, signed an injured Cairo Santos (only to be put back on IR a week later), and then rode the season out with embattled 13-year veteran Mike Nugent.
Although the Nuge is currently the Bears’ active placekicker and was decent overall this season (11/13 FG’s, 15/17 PAT’s), this has been an area of concern ever since the departure of Robbie Gould and it still may not be settled.
There is a huge chance that Sebastian Janikowski may want to play for a contending team. However, there is tangible promise in the Windy City and it obviously starts with the hiring of former Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Matt Nagy as head coach. Time will tell, however.
NEW YORK GIANTS
A terrible year all-around for Big Blue, special teams were definitely a sight for sore eyes.
Undrafted free agent placekicker Aldrick Rosas beat out veteran Mike Nugent in training camp for the job. However, he struggled with accuracy inside of 50 yards, missing 7 of 22 attempts (25 total attempts). He also had the lowest extra point conversion percentage at a very pedestrian 87%.
The rookie from Southern Oregon hit a lowlight in a game against the Arizona Cardinals where he had two of his kicks sent back, drawing not only the ire of fans but concern from the coaching staff as well.
While he does possess a big leg, he can be extremely erratic. They will DEFINITELY be in the market for a kicker next month and Sebastian Janikowski could very well be in the cards for them.
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS
During the first 7 weeks of the season, it was Tampa Bay who had the worst special teams unit in the NFL. Their issues at kicker continued to loom after the release of Roberto Aguayo.
Former starting kicker Nick Folk was inaccurate and ineffective. Shortly after a 3 miss performance against New England, he was moved to IR.
They brought back Patrick Murray on October 9th soon after. He went on to hit 19/23 field goals (82.6%) and scored 78 points in total, stabilizing the position somewhat. However, there is still something that is seriously lacking.
While he was very accurate compared to the kickers they have had in the past, Patrick Murray has lost a decent amount of leg strength due to multiple ACL tears he suffered in Tampa Bay (2015) and Cleveland (2016).
Kickoffs further confirmed that the 4-year pro from Fordham didn’t have the same leg power he once possesed.
His 60.8 yards per kickoff average ranked 25th in the NFL. His 14 touchbacks are the least in the NFL of anyone with 40 or more kickoffs along with his league low 35% touchback percentage.
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