This has certainly been a strange week for Sebastian Janikowski.
It began when reports circulated about the longtime kicker falling into a contract dispute with his team, the Oakland Raiders. While it was eventually resolved a few days ago, there were still concerns about the condition of Janikowski’s back, which had caused the Raiders to workout three free agent kickers on Monday and sign camp leg Giorgio Tavecchio to the practice squad yesterday.
Apparently, Seabass’ back is in worse enough shape to sideline him for the time being.
The Raiders moved Janikowski to injured reserve today, per several media reports. They have elevated Tavecchio to the active roster in a corresponding transaction, leaving an open spot on the practice squad.
IR rules state that a player can return from the list eight weeks after they are placed there, so Seabass could feasibly return to action during week 9 of this season. However, a team can only bring back two players this way, and the Raiders already have safety Obi Melifonwu and offensive lineman Denver Kirkland on IR, so they’ll have to choose two of the three come week 9.
Tavecchio has spent the last three preseasons with the Raiders as an extra hand (or leg, in this case) to alleviate reps from Seabass during the regular season. While he hasn’t been awful, he also hasn’t done well enough to get a job elsewhere. If he struggles, the Raiders may readily turn to one of the three kickers they brought in for tryouts on Monday, Mike Nugent, Marshall Koehn or Josh Lambo.
This is the last year of the 39-year-old Janikowski’s contract. He’ll turn 40 at the beginning of March. He’s stated in the past that he’d love to stay with the Raiders “until they kick him out,” but the team doesn’t have much reason to keep him around if his back won’t let him play. That’d be a depressing end to a long career.