More details of Oakland’s scrutinized plan to keep the Raiders emerged this weekend, but things aren’t too much smoother on the Las Vegas front for the franchise. As recently as two weeks ago, Mark Davis was told he did not have enough votes from his fellow owners to move the team to Sin City, Ray Ratto of CSNBayArea.com reports.
This status could obviously change since a relocation vote hasn’t been scheduled yet, but the Raiders owner has not participated in the Oakland plan. Despite owners’ public preferences on Vegas mostly a mystery at this juncture, although obvious hesitancy persists due to the market size and Vegas’ gambling connections, the recent emergence of a Bay Area plan without the Raiders on board leaves the league in a strange spot regarding the future of one of its most famous franchises.
Ratto notes the NFL is not particuarly fond of a business arrangement with either Sheldon Adelson in Las Vegas, or the Fortress Group in the Bay Area despite Ronnie Lott‘s involvement. He can envision a scenario where the league stalls this process until one of the solutions becomes tenable in its view.
Here’s more from around the league on the eve of Week 14 Sunday.
- Today’s extension for Jamar Taylor could mean the new Browns regime is eyeing a trade of Joe Haden. The veteran corner has struggled in back-to-back seasons, and Tony Grossi of ESPNCleveland.com tweets the Browns will potentially see what kind of market exists for the veteran corner on draft weekend. Pro Football Focus rates Haden as its No. 96 overall corner, and the former first-round pick — signed to a five-year, $67.5MM deal in May of 2014 — played in just five games in 2015.
- The Cowboys will be playing without return specialist Lucky Whitehead against the Giants due apparently to a Snapchat-induced issue, Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram tweets. A team-rules violation officially kept Whitehead from traveling with the team to New Jersey, and Charean Williams and Drew Davison of the Star-Telegram report a missed meeting factored into this as well. Whitehead’s returned 19 punts and 10 kickoffs this season. Lance Dunbar and Cole Beasley are listed as the specialty backups.
- Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson are headed for free agency and it has been said that the Redskins will not retain both players. Which wide receiver should be retained? Mark Bullock of The Washington Post dove deep into game footage to figure out which player is more valuable for Washington. He concludes that the Redskins should keep Jackson because he is still a legitimate deep threat, something the team lacks without him. In addition to his own touchdown bombs, Bullock says that DJax can open up space for Jordan Reed and Jamison Crowder.
- Reed is expected to return to action Sunday against the Eagles after missing Week 13 with a shoulder injury, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets.
- Cancer survivor James Conner will forego his final season at Pittsburgh and enter the draft, Jared Shanker of ESPN.com reports. Conner scored 56 touchdowns — the most in ACC history — in just three seasons and beat Hodgkin’s Lymphoma just as Eric Berry did. The running back claimed ACC player of the year honors in 2014 but tore his MCL a year later and misssed that season. The cancer diagnosis came in December of 2015, but Conner returned to the field in September and rushed for 1,060 yards this season. He joins Leonard Fournette, Christian McCaffrey and D’Onta Foreman as early-entry backs but isn’t expected to go in the first or second round like that trio is.
Zach Links contributed to this report