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Breakdown of Sebastian Janikowski contract

NFL: Oakland Raiders at Arizona Cardinals Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Earlier in April the Seattle Seahawks announced that they were signing free agent kicker Sebastian Janikowski to compete for the kicker position for the 2018 season, and after nearly two weeks we finally have the terms of Janikowski’s contract with the Hawks.

Since the end of that tweet is cut off, that’s $300,000 in per game roster bonuses for Janikowski, or $18,750 per game. Most of you are familiar with the format for looking at contracts that I prefer, so here is the contract in my usual spreadsheet form.

As noted at the bottom of that table, the cap hit of $1.615M for Janikowski only represents the cap hit he will carry for the offseason. Because Janikowski spent the entirety of the 2017 regular season on injured reserve for the Oakland Raiders, neither the $100,000 Week 1 roster bonus for being on the 53-man roster, nor the $300,000 in per game roster bonuses will count anything towards the salary cap during the offseason, as they are considered not likely to be earned under the collective bargaining agreement.

However, if Janikowski makes the Week 1 roster and appears in all 16 games for the Hawks , he will end 2018 with a cap hit of $2.015M. That extra $0.015M at the end may seem a little strange, but it’s simply a function of the NFL minimum salary for someone of Janikowski’s experience. With 18 seasons in the NFL, Janikowski easily qualifies for the maximum minimum salary under the CBA, for which the threshold is ten or more seasons. Thus, Janikowski’s base salary of $1.015M is the minimum allowed under NFL rules for someone who has been in the league as long as Janikowski has.

In order to address the question that I know someone will ask, Janikowski’s contract does not qualify for the veteran minimum exemption, and the reason for that is that the $1M in additional bonuses that his roster contains. Under the veteran minimum exemption rules, a contract must meet three criteria, and those are as follows:

  • the player must have four or more accrued seasons,
  • the player must sign a contract with a base salary for league minimum based on their level of experience, and
  • the contract may contain no more than $80,000 in bonus compensation beyond the base salary.

The first two criteria are met in this case, but the third one is most certainly far from being met as all three of the Week 1 roster bonus, the per game roster bonuses and the signing bonus are all individually in excess of the $80,000 threshold.

In any case, hopefully Janikowski’s back is healthy and he is fully recovered from whatever landed him on injured reserve in 2017. And hopefully he knows how to make kicks when the temperature drops below 65.