Sports

Seahawks sign kicker Sam Ficken, increasing chances Sebastian Janikowski will depart

Seahawks kicker Sebastian Janikowski (11) falls to the ground after suffering a left hamstring attempting a 57-yard field-goal on the final play of the first half last weekend in Seattle’s wild-card playoff loss at Dallas. Friday, the Seahawks signed free-agent kicker Sam Ficken for 2019, increasing the possibility the team will let the 40-year-old Janikowski become a free agent in March rather than re-sign him.
Seahawks kicker Sebastian Janikowski (11) falls to the ground after suffering a left hamstring attempting a 57-yard field-goal on the final play of the first half last weekend in Seattle’s wild-card playoff loss at Dallas. Friday, the Seahawks signed free-agent kicker Sam Ficken for 2019, increasing the possibility the team will let the 40-year-old Janikowski become a free agent in March rather than re-sign him. AP

The likelihood the Seahawks will have their third kicker in three years has increased.

The team on Friday signed free-agent placekicker Sam Ficken to a futures contract for at least the 2019 offseason. That increases the probability Seattle will not re-sign Sebastian Janikowski and will let the 40-year-old veteran who had the job this past season become a free agent in March.

The 26-year-old Ficken appeared in two games this past season and two games plus a playoff one late in the 2017 season, both times for the Los Angeles Rams when kicker Greg Zuerlein was injured. Ficken made three of six field goals.

The Seahawks signed Janikowski last offseason after his 18 years with the Oakland Raiders. He beat out Jason Myers for the Seahawks’ job in the 2018 preseason in what really wasn’t much of a competition; it was Janikowski’s job from day one of training camp. Janikowski then made 22 of 27 field goals and 48 of 51 extra points in 2018; the three misses on PATs were his career high.

The New York Jets signed Myers after Seattle released him. He became the AFC’s kicker in this month’s Pro Bowl.

Steven Hauschka doesn’t look so bad for Seattle right now, eh?

The Seahawks have tried Blair Walsh, Myers (briefly) and Janikowski since they let Hauschka leave for Buffalo in free agency following the 2016 season. They kept Walsh for 2017 and saved $2 million at the position, but then Walsh missed eight of 29 field goals. That included two misses that would have won games that season. Seattle went 9-7 in 2017 and missed making the playoffs for the only time in the last seven years by one game.

Janikowski had a sore back for much of this past season, then re-injured it on Dec. 23 getting bumped by a Chiefs player following a kick. But he kicked on. Last weekend in the NFC wild-card playoff game at Dallas he severely injured his left hamstring trying to kick a 57-yard field goal on the final play of the first half as far as he could. That left him unable to kick for the rest of the game.

All-Pro rookie punter Michael Dickson practiced at the end of halftime to do placekicks, as he had for parts of two weeks back at team headquarters. It was shaky, to say the least. The Seahawks went for 2-point conversions following their two touchdowns in the second half, and Dickson failed in his attempt to plop a drop kick over the front line of Cowboys on an onside kick in the final seconds of Seattle’s 24-22 loss.

Gregg Bell is the Seahawks and NFL writer for The News Tribune. In January 2019 he was named the Washington state sportswriter of the year by the National Sports Media Association. He started covering the NFL in 2002 as the Oakland Raiders beat writer for The Sacramento Bee. The Ohio native began covering the Seahawks in their first Super Bowl season of 2005. In a prior life he graduated from West Point and served as a tactical intelligence officer in the U.S. Army, so he may ask you to drop and give him 10.

  Comments