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Report: Sebastian Janikowski takes paycut with Raiders after all

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NFL: Preseason-Oakland Raiders at Arizona Cardinals Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

In the midst of the news that Sebastian Janikowski is having back issues, the Raiders hosting a trio of free agent kickers for workouts, and Jack Del Rio saying that reports the Raiders were trying to get Janikowski to rework his deal were ‘speculating’, new reports reveal that both appear to be true.

The initial report said that the Raiders were asking their 17-year veteran kicker to take a reworked deal and Janikowski was refusing. That report came from Adam Schefter, who late Wednesday said the two sides had “resolved contractual differences” without going into any detail on what exactly that meant.

Thursday morning, Ian Rapoport, who had initially reported the Raiders were concerned about Janikowski’s back, reported the deal was to lower the lifetime Raider’s salary by a million dollars, speculating the same as I had that the Raiders are trying to money for Donald Penn.

The thing is, however, the Raiders don’t need ‘space’ for Penn. That typically suggests they need to make room under the cap. They have over $10 million in ‘space’ under the cap.

It all makes you wonder why this is happening. Why going through all this with three days until the start of the regular season just for a such a small sum in the overall scheme of things? Why cause unnecessary drama/distraction on a team hoping to make a run at the Super Bowl?

And if this contract situation has anything to do with the injury, that makes even less sense. Making a million less should somehow make them feel less concerned about his back issues. If he really looks “awful” and you think he can’t kick, he shouldn’t be the kicker, regardless of what he makes. The contract should have no bearing on their opinion of his injury status.

Initially the news of a ‘reworked deal’ rang to me like the deal Lee Smith signed. His deal was transferred mostly over to incentives. He got less base salary, but if he hit all his play time incentives, could ultimately make more this season than his previous contract.

I have yet to receive any indication if Janikowski’s deal includes similar incentives, but I hope it does. Forcing an outright paycut is not how you go about giving your career Raider and longest tenured player an NFL sendoff.

Update: It’s a pay cut, according to Adam Schefter who says Janikowski may earn back $250K by hitting 83% of his field goals, leaving him still $800K short of his previous money for this season.