As expected, the Rams have notified the St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission that they will shift to a year-to-year lease agreement for their use of the Edward Jones Dome, according to R.B. Fallstrom of The Associated Press. With rumors swirling about a potential move to Los Angeles, it was viewed as a formality that the franchise would transition into this more flexible arrangement in advance of Wednesday’s deadline to do so.
A year-to-year agreement, which allows the team to extend its lease with its home field one year at a time, is currently the arrangement that the Chargers and Raiders have for their respective stadiums. Unlike the Rams though, those clubs don’t have a potential exit strategy in place. Rams owner Stan Kroenke announced three weeks ago that he intends to build an NFL stadium in Inglewood, California, and moving the club’s agreement at the Edward Jones Dome to a year-to-year arrangement gives the Rams the flexibility to relocate to Los Angeles as soon as 2016.
Of course, the city of St. Louis responded to Kroenke’s announcement by unveiling a stadium plan of its own, and there’s certainly no guarantee that the Rams are going anywhere anytime soon. But as Albert Breer of NFL.com writes today, Kroenke’s stadium proposal has created the most viable path to L.A. the NFL has seen for quite some time.
According to Breer, Kroenke’s announcement, which he ran by Roger Goodell and NFL officials in December, was “met with quiet applause at the league office.” The idea that the Rams could be playing in Los Angeles in 2016, and in Kroenke’s new Inglewood stadium by 2018, not only isn’t far-fetched — it’s trending toward becoming a likelihood, per Breer, who adds that the Rams owner is open to the idea of involving a second team – perhaps the Chargers or Raiders – as part of the project.
The next major step for Kroenke and the Rams is to turn in to the city of Inglewood the 8,500 signatures necessary to set up a public vote on re-zoning the land where the stadium will be built, writes Breer, noting the club already has those signatures ready to go.