Sebastian Janikowski’s Record Deal Might Have Been the Right Call

Maybe Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis is onto something in making Sebastian Janikowski the NFL's highest-paid kicker.

With Janikowski signing a record four-year, $16 million deal, it forces the football world to analyze the value of not only special teams players, but place-kickers.

Janikowski is the Raiders' all-time leader in points scored, tallying 1,000 during his 10-year career for a franchise that has been close to the bottom of offensive output since the 2002 Super Bowl season.  Just by flipping through any NFL record book, one would see that kickers—not quarterbacks, running backs, or wide receivers—usually appear near the top in terms of scoring. 

In 2009 alone, the stout Polish kicker scored 95 of the Raiders' 197 points.  Only the St. Louis Rams, who totaled 175 points, scored less than Oakland.  It's not a stretch to say Janikowski was the Raiders' most valuable player.  

Janikowski concluded the season making a career-high 89.7 percent of his field-goal tries.

So how valuable was Janikowski compared to the rest of the kicking field?

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, place-kickers converted on only 80 percent of field-goals in 2009.  That's a dramatic drop from the 84 percent clip in 2008.  On kicks of 50 or more yards, the league average was 53.2 percent.  On attempts between 40-49 yards, kickers were successful 71 percent of the time.  Janikowski was 6-of-8 on 50-yarders and 9-of-10 from 40 yards and beyond.  He was even better away from Oakland, going 10-for-10 from 40 or more yards.

Chicago Bears' kicker Robbie Gould, who signed a lucrative five-year, $13.5 million deal in 2008, has only made two field goals from 50 yards in five career attempts.

Over his career, Janikowski has been efficient, making 78.4 percent of his field-goal attempts.  That percentage is a far cry from the likes of...

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