NASHVILLE -- Kicker Sebastian Jankowski has been dealing with a back injury that left his availability for Sunday's regular-season opener in question. The issue was resolved Saturday afternoon, when the Raiders placed their longest-tenured player on injured reserve.
In steps Giorgio Tavecchio, the Raiders' insurance policy.
The Cal product was signed to the practice squad Friday, allowing him to travel with the team and be ready in case Janikowski couldn't go. Now Tavecchio will make his NFL debut.
Tavecchio's a familiar face. He was a Raider the last three offseasons and, like Janikowski, is left-footed. That keeps the Raiders battery unchanged heading into a game that counts. Tavecchio was 3-for-4 on field goals this preseason and missed an extra point.
Tavecchio will get the Raiders through Sunday's game. It's uncertain what happens after that. The Raiders worked out Mike Nugent, Josh Lambo and Marshal Koehn -- right-footed kickers, all -- on Monday. One of those guys could get signed, or the Raiders could stick with Tavecchio.
There's another wrinkle to this tale. Janikowski reportedly re-worked his contract Wednesday evening. He took a paycut, ESPN reported. The $4.05 million base salary was chopped $3 million, but it became fully guaranteed. He gets that no matter what happens next.
The 18th year veteran, drafted in the first round, by late owner Al Davis, is in the last year of his contract. They could designate him to return off injured reserve after at least eight weeks if they choose, or he could be out all year and become a free agent. The Raiders can activate two players off injured reserve. Valued young offensive lineman Denver Kirkland and second-round safety Obi Melifonwu are already on IR, with a real prospects of being ready to return this season.