Kicker Sebastian Janikowski, who agreed to a restructured contract with the Raiders earlier in the week, will miss at least half of the season after being placed on injured reserve Saturday.
Former Cal standout Giorgio Tavecchio was elevated from the practice squad to the active roster and will kick for the Raiders when they open the season in Tennessee Sunday.
Janikowski, in his 17th season with Oakland, had been nursing a back injury and was initally listed as questionable this week. The former No. 1 pick in 2000 was reportedly in danger of being released until he agreed to a reduced deal this season paying him a reported $3 million.
The Raiders put Janikowski on the reserve/injured list, meaning he must miss at least eight games but can be reinstated to the roster after that. The problem facing Oakland is that teams can only activate two players per season off the reserve/injured list, and the Raiders already have offensive lineman Denver Kirkland and rookie safety Obi Melifonwu on the list, two players who could fill vital roles this season.
Kirkland is a reliable backup at guard for Pro Bowlers Kelechi Osemele and Gabe Jackson, while Melifonwu, a second-round pick from UConn, was expected to contribute a lot to their secondary. So, there’s a chance that Janikowski could miss the entire season and may have made his last kick as a Raider since he’s a free agent at season’s end.
Tavecchio has been with the Raiders as an extra kicker the past four preseasons and has made 9-of-11 field goal attempts with Oakland.
The Raiders’ transition to Tavecchio will be somewhat easier on holder/punter Marquette King since the former Bear is left-footed, like Janikowski.
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