A $600,000 signing bonus seems to indicate the Seahawks are expecting Janikowski to be their kicker in 2018.
Turns out, now that we know the details of Sebastian Janikowski’s contract with Seattle, the battle to replace Blair Walsh as the Seahawks’ kicker may not be quite as intriguing as we thought.
According to a report from ESPN, the 17-year veteran Janikowski received a one-year contract worth up to $2.015 million (which is also the max salary cap hit) that includes a $600,000 signing bonus.
The bonus alone is almost more than the entire contract of Janikowski’s competition, Jason Myers, who signed a one-year deal worth $705,000 in January, the veteran minimum, with no bonus and nothing guaranteed.
So unless Myers is so much better than Janikowski that it’s worth eating $600,000 — not an overly substantial sum and not so much that it’s a totally deal-maker, but definitely something, and especially for a kicker — than Janikowski is going to have a hard time losing the job.
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What the bonus also seems to indicate is that the Seahawks are confident that Janikowski is past the back injury that had him on Injured Reserve all of last season with the Raiders
Janikowski has said in several interviews that he was healthy by mid-season, but at that point there was no reason for the Raiders to make a move at kicker (they had Giorgio Tavecchio, who they have since kept on the roster to replace Janikowski).
Janikowski signed the contract with Seattle after making a visit to the VMAC that included a physical with Seahawks general manager John Schneider saying at the time in an interview with Q13 television in Seattle that a key was to assess his heath.
Janikowski turned 40 in March but assuming he is indeed past the back issue then that isn’t necessarily a huge factor (the Colts’ Adam Vinatieri is 45 and Atlanta’s Matt Bryant is also still going strong at 42).
The investment in Janikowski, though, also indicates the Seahawks are taking a little different approach to the kicking position than they did a year ago.
Recall then the Seahawks decided quickly they weren’t going to be able to match the offers they figured Stephen Hauschka would receive — he ultimately got a three-year deal worth up to $8.85 million with a singing bonus of $3 million from Buffalo.
Long before Hauschka got that deal Seattle signed Walsh to a one-year deal worth up to $1.1 million but with no money guaranteed.
Seattle, though, also had no competition for Walsh on the roster for training camp, and there was little doubt the job was going to be his all along (which he then secured with field goals of 52 and 53 yards in a preseason game against the Vikings which turned out to maybe be the highlight of his Seattle career).
Since Myers has no guaranteed money, he can be cut by Seattle at any point with no financial loss or cap hit, so the Seahawks will have some flexibility if they decide there’s another younger kicker they might want to bring in as competition, as well.
But the safe bet is obviously on Janikowski getting the job as he actually got a larger bonus than two other Seattle free agents who also signed one-year contracts — cornerback Dontae Johnson ($350,000) and offensive lineman D.J. Fluker ($300,000).