The Raiders have welcomed back former Cal Bears kicker Giorgio Tavecchio, who spent a few days with the Raiders last preseason and kicked two 47-yard field goals in their final preseason game against the Seattle Seahawks.
Normally such a signing doesn't hold much meaning. It is written off a a 'camp leg'. But this one may mean something more. Consider a few details.
First off, the Raiders officially announced it with press release and tweet and everything. That seems a bit much for a camp leg.
It's still February. Last year the Raiders didn't add a camp leg (Michael Palardy) until June and the season before they didn't sign a camp leg until the end of April (Eddy Carmona) and 2012 they didn't sign a kicker until mid May.
Sebastian Janikowski's salary.
Janikowski signed a backloaded 5-year extension a couple years ago. This season he represents a cap hit of $3.6 million which is among the top ten highest paid players on the team. They could let it ride and deal with his contract next off-season when it rises again to the fourth biggest cap hit on the team or they could cut bait now with just about $1 million in dead money left behind.
Janikowski's 2014 season.
He attempted the fewest field goals of his career (22) and on at least two occasions the team opted not to send him out to attempt field goals that are considered well within his range. He was visibly angry about those decisions.
Janikowsk is the longest tenured Raider and one of only a handful of original Raiders still on the team from the previous regime.
Tavecchio has also spent time in training camp with the San Francisco 49ers (2012), Green Bay Packers (2013) and Lions (2014) but hasn't been able to latch on anywhere .
He played in 46 games for at Cal and ranks fifth on the school's all-time scoring list and fourth among kickers. He converted 48-of-64 (75 percent) field goal attempts and 112-of-120 (93.3 percent) PATs during his three years, ranking third in both all-time made field goals and extra points made.
This signing could end up being insignificant. But for the first time in 15 years, I wouldn't write it off the idea that it could be more than nothing.