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Janikowski retires as highest-paid kicker ever

Denver Broncos v Oakland Raiders

OAKLAND, CA - NOVEMBER 06: Sebastian Janikowski #11 of the Oakland Raiders kicks a field goal during the first quarter against the Denver Broncos at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on November 6, 2016 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

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When Sebastian Janikowski announced his retirement on Sunday, he did so as the highest-paid kicker in NFL history.

Janikowski made $53.3 million in his NFL career, topping second place Adam Vinatieri by $6 million.

It may come as a surprise that Janikowski made so much more than Vinatieri, considering that Vinatieri played four more seasons than Janikowski. But the big difference between them is that Janikowski, as a first-round draft pick, made a lot of money right off the bat. Vinatieri, as an undrafted rookie, had to prove himself first.

Janikowski made $14 million in his first six seasons. Vinatieri made just $3 million in his first six seasons. Al Davis believed in Janikowski enough to make him the Raiders’ first-round pick in 2000, and that paved the way for a long and lucrative career.