Oakland Raiders: Time To Call The Carolina Panthers About Graham Gano
When you hear the team name the Oakland Raiders, what comes to mind? Is it the high powered passing game headed by Derek Carr? Maybe it is the two headed receiving monster of Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree. Oh I know, it’s Beast Mode coming out of retirement. No wait, it’s how Khalil Mack is a total beast on defense.
For some, any of those could be the answer. But for many, the answer comes in the form of the team’s place kicker, Sebastian Janikowski.
Now I know, it’s weird to think a team can be so synonymous with their kicker. But when it comes to Janikowski, there is a good reason he is so greatly associated with the franchise.
The seventeen-year veteran was drafted by the Black and Silver out of Florida State in the first round of the NFL Draft back in 2000. He has spent his entire career with the franchise. The means he is tied for the longest tenure on a team for any of the current players in the NFL. The man he is tied with, none other than New England Patriots star quarterback Tom Brady.
But there seems to be trouble brewing for the Polish Cannon. For starters, he has not kicked in the final two preseason games for the Raiders thanks to a balky back. In addition to that, the team has asked the longtime Raider to rework his current contract.
As of right now, the kicker has said no. As a result, the team has started to look into possible alternatives. Given the team is one hundred percent certain Janikowski will be able to kick week one against the Tennesee Titans anyway, they are using this opportunity to find the big man’s potential replacement.
Sure there are free agents (thanks to recent cuts) such as Mike Nugent or Josh Lambo, both of whom have had auditions with the club already, the Raiders’ best option is calling the Carolina Panthers.
As of right now, the Panthers are holding two kickers on their 53-man roster. They have veteran Graham Gano and rookie Harrison Butker. If the team still has both men on their roster come Sunday, word on the street is Gano will be kicking. That tells me a few things.
If Gano is set to kick, it begs the question, why keep Butker? The simple answer, he is the guy the team sees as their longer-term solution. As a result, the veteran Gano could certainly be available via trade.
Obviously, the Raiders are looking to save a bit of cash given they are asking Janikowski to rework his deal. Given he is set to make $4 million, would the team really trade for a guy in Gano who is set to make $3.2 million? Considering the teams could include some cash via a deal if that difference was a big enough savings for Oakland, I would venture to say it’s certainly still possible.
But the clock is ticking. Once we hit 4:00 pm EST today (Tuesday 9/4), Janikowski will be owed 1/17th of his deal. Then by the same time on Saturday, the kicker’s full deal becomes guaranteed. So look for some resolution on the situation rather soon.
And if the Oakland Raiders are certain they want to move on from their longest tenured player, adding a man who has hit 30 field goals in each of the last two seasons in the form of Graham Gano of the Carolina Panthers is certainly an option. The Panthers have the supply, and the Raiders could have the demand.
Do you think Gano is a good fit for the Raiders? Tell us what you think in the comments!