Even though he turns 40 in less than three weeks, Sebastian Janikowski still intends on playing for an NFL team next season. Just not the team he’s played for since the start of the century.The Raiders have decided not to bring back their longtime kicker, ESPN reported Wednesday. Janikowski was the team’s longest-tenured player in franchise history after being drafted 17th overall in 2000, and will become an unrestricted free agent at the start of the new league year on March 14.“At 39, Sebastian is too young to retire,” his agent, Paul Healy, told the Bay Area News Group.Janikowski has played more game than any player in franchise history (268) but missed the entire 2017 season while on injured reserve with a back issue. His impending departure from Oakland isn’t a shock, as he was set for unrestricted free agency anyway and the Raiders found a viable replacement last season in Giorgio Tavecchio.Tavecchio made $465,000 last season on a one-year deal compared to Janikowski’s $3 million (after a $1 million pay cut). Tavecchio is an exclusive rights free agent and can be retained with a qualifying offer.The Raiders released a statement by owner Mark Davis on Thursday morning, thanking Janikowski for his contributions to the team.“The Raider Nation salutes Sebastian Janikowski as the sun sets on his illustrious career with the Oakland Raiders,” Davis said in the statement. “He joined the team as a surprise first-round pick in the 2000 Draft and finishes his time in Oakland as one of the greatest or perhaps the greatest kicker in pro football history. His powerful left leg produced an NFL-record 55 field goals of 50-or-more yards.“The motto ‘Once a Raider, Always a Raider’ has never been more true as his 18-year career makes him the longest-tenured player in Raiders history. Sebastian, his wife, Lori, and their three children will always be a loved and treasured part of the Raiders family.”The Raiders made Janikowski the league’s richest kicker in 2009 with a four-year, $16 million contract. In 2013, he received a $15.1 million extension.He owns the NFL record for field goals made of 50 or more yards with 55. He currently sits 11th in NFL history with 1,799 points. Only the Colts’ Adam Vinatieri and the Cardinals’ Phil Dawson top him in that category among active kickers.
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