City Of Las Vegas

Raiders Hope To Play 2019 Season In Oakland

As the second Jon Gruden era begins in Oakland, the Raiders continue to attempt to gain a foothold in Las Vegas while their new stadium is being built. They are going to play in the Bay Area this season, but beyond that, there are no guarantees just yet.

The team does not have a surefire 2019 home. The Raiders’ lease with the Oakland Alameida Coliseum expires after the 2018 season, but their goal is to remain there for 2019, Vincent Bonsignore of the Orange County Register notes.

While UNLV’s home venue — Sam Boyd Stadium — was once seen as a possible contingency plan in case the Raiders and Oakland could not make a lame-duck situation work, that no longer appears to be the case. Bonsignore writes no temporary stadium solution exists in Vegas, so unlike the Rams and Chargers, the Raiders are sticking around in their longtime market while their domed site is being constructed. The 2020 season has been mentioned as the goal for that stadium’s unveiling, but Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk notes that still isn’t certain.

And if the Raiders are unable to come to terms with Oakland on another lease to play at their 50-plus-year-old stadium for the 2019 season, Bonsignore expects San Diego and San Antonio to surface as possible stopgap home sites.

As far as the gap between the announcement of the move and the actual moving into the stadium, it’s a tough one,” Mark Davis said, via Bonsignore. “But we want to try and bring a championship to the Bay Area, if we do, that will be fantastic. If we don’t, I can assure you we will have given it all we could to make that happen.”

The Raiders in September 2017 were discussing a lease extension with the city of Oakland for a possible plan to play both the 2019 and ’20 seasons there, in the event a construction delay occurs preventing the team from moving to Las Vegas until 2021. But with those talks being reported nearly 10 months ago, and no such agreement known to have taken place, it adds to the uncertainty surrounding the Raiders’ home following the 2018 campaign.

Davis maintains the eventual exit from Oakland will be agonizing, but he doesn’t regret his decision to relocate after Nevada provided the public funding — a record $750MM — Oakland didn’t.

It all came down to the public entities and where they felt their efforts should be placed. And obviously we didn’t rank No. 1,” Davis said. “(Oakland) took the approach that why should we give you money? And it was never about them giving us money. And I’ve said that a number of times. All we ever asked for was help to stay in the Bay Area. It’s the most beautiful place in the world. We’ve got the greatest fans in the world up there. But we needed a place that would allow us to compete financially with the rest of the NFL.”

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Raiders Discussing Lease Extension With Oakland Coliseum

The Raiders are signed to play home games at Oakland Coliseum through the 2018 season, but with their Las Vegas venue not set to be ready by 2020 at the earliest, the team is tentatively expected to stay in the Bay Area in 2019 as well.

However, this franchise may go by the “Oakland Raiders” for longer than expected. The Raiders and Bay Area authorities are discussing an extension to the current lease, with Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reporting these talks are about staying in Oakland past the 2019 season.

Issues about stadium construction and with the new arrangement with UNLV, which will share the stadium, have induced the Raiders to consider a fourth season as a lame-duck tenant in Oakland. Unlike the Rams and Chargers in Los Angeles, the Raiders aren’t at the point where a delay their stadium’s unveiling is a certainty, per La Canfora. But talks are commencing with Oakland about a post-2019 partnership. Although, it’s still unclear if the sides have an agreement in place for 2019.

They’re talking about adding on at least one more year in Oakland,” a source informed La Canfora about a possible 2020 season in northern California.

La Canfora reports the director of the Coliseum Commission is open to such an arrangement. However, we heard earlier this year Oakland was considering concluding the sides’ relationship after the 2018 lease expires.

The NFL insider adds the Raiders might be using a lease extension in their current city as leverage in the UNLV talks — which have become somewhat contentious, prompting the university to hire a pricey lawyer to handle negotiations with the relocating NFL team — but at the same time are coming to grips with the fact they may need a stadium solution for the 2020 season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC West Notes: Hali, Reid, Raiders, Broncos

Entering his 12th season with the Chiefs, Tamba Hali‘s role might be closer to a part-time position when compared to his near-decade run as a consistent presence on Kansas City defenses. The team has Justin Houston healthy and Dee Ford back after a breakout season. Hali took to Twitter to address his status with the Chiefs, firing up a string of tweets shaped around his lack of usage in January’s divisional-round loss to the Steelers (Twitter links). The 33-year-old was not happy playing just seven plays and tweeted, “Am I needed in KC anymore?”

Hali added (on Twitter) he was told his minimized play was to preserve him for the playoffs, which is interesting considering the Chiefs were in an elimination game. But Ford and Houston were the team’s primary linebackers that night. Terez Paylor of the Kansas City Star, noting the tweets’ authenticity, pointed out how the outside linebacker kept quiet about this for a while but has obviously been upset about his lack of playing time in the Chiefs’ biggest game in 13 years (Twitter links). Paylor adds (on Twitter) Hali is not believed to be upset about being tied to the Chiefs but wants a prominent role.

A 2006 first-round pick, Hali is now on his third Chiefs contract — a three-year, $21MM pact — and that deal being backloaded inflates his cap charge from $3.8MM in 2016 to $8.6MM this season. Kansas City incurring a dead-money penalty of $8.91MM in the event of a 2017 Hali release makes that almost certainly a non-starter for a team up against the cap. But in 2018, the Chiefs can cut Hali and save $7MM. Ford’s salary also rises north of $8MM in 2018 due to the Chiefs exercising his fifth-year option. A five-time Pro Bowler whom Pro Football Focus rated as a top outside linebacker as recently as 2015, Hali started in front of slower-developing Ford in 2014 and ’15 but ceded ground as last season progressed and Houston returned.

However, the team could probably benefit from Hali as a part-time pass rusher, as several teams have from aging stalwarts in recent years. But his usage rate could be a point of contention, if Saturday’s string of posts is any indication.

Here’s the latest out of Kansas City and the rest of the AFC West.

  • The Chiefs’ ouster of John Dorsey and promotion of Brett Veach figures to give Andy Reid more power regarding personnel matters, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk writes. Veach broke into the NFL with the Reid-era Eagles — as Reid’s personal assistant — in the 2000s and followed the coach to Kansas City in 2013.
  • UNLV hired a pricey lawyer to negotiate terms with the Raiders on the parties’ future use of the $1.9 billion domed stadium set for construction and future use, Adam Candee of the Las Vegas Sun reports. The Mountain West Conference program and the Raiders are legally bound, via state mandate, to co-exist at the to-be-constructed venue. But the sides have to negotiate the agreement. Florio notes the Raiders proposed the first draft of said agreement, one Candee and Florio note was tilted toward the NFL team.
  • The Broncos haven’t had a place for No. 4 cornerbacks since forming their dominant trio of Chris Harris, Aqib Talib and Bradley Roby in 2014. Kayvon Webster hardly saw the field as a defender after Talib and Roby arrived, leading to his defection to the Rams, but the Broncos drafted a project corner in Brendan Langley out of Lamar in the third round. Langley doesn’t figure to play a big role this season, but Cameron Wolfe of the Denver Post notes the team sees the ex-Division I-FCS defender as a potential No. 1 corner down the line.

Latest On Derek Carr’s Contract

Derek Carr‘s five-year, $125MM contract makes him the highest-paid NFL player and the first to break the $25MM-AAV barrier. Some of this deal’s specifics — like Carr’s $70MM guaranteed and $40MM fully guaranteed at signing — have been reported, but Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio reports some key details in the agreement on Sunday.

Derek CarrCarr received a $12.5MM signing bonus and will make $5MM in 2017 base salary. According to OverTheCap, the 26-year-old quarterback will have a 2017 cap figure of $15.73MM. For the ensuing five years, Carr’s cap figures are as follows: $25MM (2018), $22.5MM (’19), $21.5MM (’20), $22.13MM (’21) and $19.88MM (’22).

As for how the guarantees in these years are structured, Carr picked up a $7.5MM roster bonus on June 30 to add to his 2017 total. For 2018, his $7.4MM base salary is guaranteed for injury only at signing, but Florio reports that will be fully guaranteed on the third day of the 2018 league year. A $15MM roster bonus will come Carr’s way on Day 3 of the ’18 league year as well. That will be paid within 15 days of that March date, per Florio.

In 2019, Carr’s deal is less complicated. He will earn a base salary of $19.9MM for his age-28 season. It’s structured like his ’18 salary, being guaranteed for injury only at signing but fully guaranteed on the third day of the 2019 league year. For 2020, the base pay is $18.9MM, with $2.9MM of that guaranteed for injury at signing. Carr’s 2021 and ’22 bases are worth $19.53MM and $19.78MM, respectively. Both figures are non-guaranteed, according to Florio. Of course, Carr could be operating on his third contract by then.

Where Carr will be playing matters now as well.

With Nevada not having a state income tax and California’s residing at 13 percent, Carr will see more money once the Raiders move to Las Vegas. Florio notes that the uncertain 2019 season — after the Raiders’ Oakland Coliseum lease expires and a year before the earliest date by which Vegas stadium is set to be ready — will bring some variance. If the Raiders stay in Oakland, Carr will pay an additional $2.6MM in taxes for 2019 compared to how this would shake out if the franchise moved to another Nevada site while the domed stadium is being finished.

Carr conceded he wanted to leave some money for the Raiders to be able to keep Gabe Jackson and Amari Cooper (when he becomes extension-eligible in 2018) while helping the team plan for the seemingly inevitable record-setting Khalil Mack extension.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Backloaded Deal For Raiders’ Derek Carr?

Derek Carr and the Raiders have a new deal which will keep the quarterback in place through the 2022 season. We know that the new money average on the deal – $25MM per year – is an all-time record, but there are other factors which will dictate the true value of the deal. Naturally, the cash flow and nature of the guarantees will tell us a lot about how Carr did in negotiations, but his reps may have also structured his deal with the Nevada state tax code in mind, as Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweetsDerek Carr/Khalil Mack (vertical)

[RELATED: Raiders, Derek Carr Agree To Record-Breaking Deal]

California’s state tax rate is 13.3%. Meanwhile, there is no state tax in Nevada. A backloaded deal could make a lot of sense for Carr and allow him to hang on to millions more in income.

We know that the Raiders plan to play their home games in Oakland for the 2017 and 2018 seasons. In 2019, the team could move to a temporary home in Nevada while waiting for it’s new home to be built, but it’s also possible that they’ll extend their stay in Oakland for one more year. It stands to reason that Carr’s team has opted for less money in the first two years of the new deal (’18, ’19) with a step up in 2020, when the new stadium is projected to open.

It’s not just Carr that will be thinking of the Battle Born State when negotiating a new contract with the Raiders. The same will go for any Raider in extension talks, including Khalil Mack, Gabe Jackson, and Amari Cooper, Schefter tweets.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Lease Issue Could Delay Raiders’ Vegas Move

The Raiders received resounding approval to relocate to Las Vegas in March, but the timetable for that trip isn’t certain. And a lease agreement could delay the franchise’s plans.

With the next NFL owners’ meeting occurring later this month, Raiders president Marc Badain said, via Regina Garcia Cano of the Associated Press, if the Raiders can’t reach a lease agreement with Las Vegas, a “distinct possibility” exists the team’s move will be delayed a year. Mark Davis‘ fellow owners must approve the lease before the project can go forward, per Adam Candee of the Las Vegas Sun.

In order to approve a lease, you need full membership, and the league has four meetings a year: one in March, one in May, one in October and one in December,” Badain said following a public meeting of the Las Vegas Stadium Authority board. “So, if you miss the May deadline, you push to October, we would lose a year, and everybody wants to get this project going everybody wants to get these guys to work. So we didn’t want to miss that deadline.”

The present plan for the Raiders includes a move into their proposed $1.9 billion domed venue in 2020, but if the team can’t agree on a lease by the May 22 owners’ meetings in Chicago, it faces a prospect of this venture being delayed until 2021. Board chairman Steve Hill expressed confidence the agreement can be finalized, per Cano, who adds a 30-year lease is being discussed. A Thursday board meeting is on the agenda, with the subject of completing this lease front and center, Candee reports.

The NFL has directly asked us to attempt to have a lease approved by the owners meeting,” Hill said. “There has been no ‘get this done or else’ type of approach on this request.”

The Raiders have a lease option to play in Oakland through the 2018 season, although a possible contingency plan — in case this season goes poorly with the lame-duck team playing in front of a fanbase that again saw the franchise agree to leave — may exist that would allow the Raiders to depart the Bay Area early and play in a temporary venue in Vegas. But UNLV’s Sam Boyd Stadium is not viewed as an NFL-ready site presently, so the above delay could conceivably keep the team in Oakland through 2020.

However, the Raiders’ current city may bail before then. The Raiders want to play in Oakland until their Vegas palace is ready, but Candee reports Coliseum authority officials want to end the parties’ relationship after the 2018 season. That would obviously put the Raiders in a tough spot, with one or two in-between years clouding the process.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC Notes: Raiders, Fins, Hightower, Broncos

A thorough ESPN.com piece regarding the Raiders‘ move to Las Vegas revealed that Mark Davis was considering a move to Sin City as far back as 2014. While Davis’ intentions with Vegas didn’t become public until 2016, a dinner with NFL executive VP — and stadium-financing point man — Eric Grubman he wanted to take the Raiders to the desert. But Grubman was far more skeptical at the time. “Mark, you’ll never get approved to Las Vegas,” Grubman said, via Don Van Natta Jr. and Seth Wickersham of ESPN.They’ll oppose it on principle. It’s not gonna happen.” Davis described it as a “good market” at the time and eventually won out, largely because of Oakland’s inability to craft a stadium plan the NFL viewed as viable.

Here’s more on the Raiders and the latest coming out of the AFC.

  • Sheldon Adelson did attempt to force Davis into giving him a stake in the Raiders. Davis refused, and part of Adelson’s removal from the project stemmed from the NFL owners having doubts about the casino mogul’s involvement. Van Natta and Wickersham allude to Adelson being irate at the Raiders for their tactics during this relocation push. This could be something to monitor down the line, with Davis and Adelson set to operate as high-powered figures in the same city relatively soon.
  • Dolphins owner Stephen Ross viewed the team’s exit of a top market as questionable. Miami’s top decision-maker wondered if the Raiders should be stripped from the NFL’s revenue-sharing program for a decade because of the team downsizing considerably in market size — going from No. 6 to No. 40 — and accepting $200MM via NFL loan, the ESPN reporters note. Ross was the lone dissenter among NFL owners regarding the Raiders’ move to Nevada.
  • Dont’a Hightower has bonuses of $54K per game during each contest within the four-year deal he signed to stay with the Patriots, Ben Volin of the Boston Globe reports. Hightower also has $2MM per year in incentives that are largely tied to playing time. The middle linebacker would receive $375K if he played in 65 percent of the Pats’ snaps, plus separate $250K incentives for 70 and 75 percent snap counts. Another $125K would come Hightower’s way if he took part in 80 percent of New England’s defensive plays. This seems to tie into the kind of health-based concerns the Jets and Steelers had when considering (and offering) Hightower. He played in just more than 67 percent of New England’s defensive snaps last season.
  • A scenario involving a Jets trade of their 2017 first-round pick for a 2018 first-rounder — in an attempt to corner the quarterback market via two first-round picks next year — doesn’t make as much sense, Rich Cimini of ESPN.com notes. Despite the belief better quarterbacks will be in that draft, the job security for Mike Maccagnan and Todd Bowles is not strong enough to make this kind of transaction. New York has been linked to Mitch Trubisky at No. 6 but obviously selected Christian Hackenberg last year before signing Josh McCown. Another rookie might stall an effort for Bowles to convince ownership the Jets are headed in the right direction.
  • The Broncos took the third-fewest snaps out of the shotgun (411) in the league last season, but that figure is expected to rise. Mike McCoy is expected to incorporate more gun looks, likely with an eye on aiding Paxton Lynch‘s development, Nicki Jhabvala of the Denver Post notes. Lynch told Jhabvala he’s “excited” about more shotgun sets being implemented because of his work in that formation at Memphis. McCoy famously made radical changes to Denver’s offense during his first stint as OC, tailoring an offense to Tim Tebow‘s unique abilities midway through the 2011 season before pivoting back to a pass-first attack once Peyton Manning arrived in 2012. Lynch, though, may have work to do to unseat Trevor Siemian, who fared much better in Gary Kubiak‘s offense.

NFL Helped Raiders Secure Vegas Funding?

When the Chargers announced in January they were taking the NFL up on its offer to join the Rams in Los Angeles, the NFL foresaw a possible route to San Diego for the Raiders. The league did not want that, so it shifted focus from helping the Raiders procure a new stadium in Oakland to making sure the Las Vegas deal didn’t fall though, Seth Wickersham and Don Van Natta Jr. of ESPN.com report in an expansive story chronicling the Raiders’ move to Sin City.

As the Raiders’ Vegas deal was flailing after the departures of Sheldon Adelson and Goldman Sachs in during the winter, league executives joined Raiders president Marc Badain in contacting Bank of America, according to Van Natta and Wickersham. The company soon replaced Adelson as a backer, injecting new life into the Raiders’ Vegas venture, and pledged a near-$1 billion line of credit to cover cost overruns from the impending stadium construction project.

Jerry Jones also played a role in this key chapter of the Raiders’ relocation process. Mark Davis said to Jones at one point last year, “you screwed me on L.A.” and Jones began to act feverishly to help the Raiders relocate. The Cowboys owner put his full support behind the project, something the league and the Raiders appreciated, according to the ESPN reporters, and attempted to procure financing for the endeavor. But some around the league are concerned with the fallout.

Jones’ push helped bring some owners off the fence, paving the way for the 31-1 relocation vote. But it irked another influential owner. Robert Kraft took exception to Jones’ stake in Legends Hospitality, a merchandise and concessions company that could stand to benefit from the $1.9 billion stadium deal.

Sources told Wickersham and Van Natta that Legends emerged as a contender to partner with the Raiders for nonfootball revenue. Kraft spoke to Adelson, a longtime friend who played a key role in helping secure the Raiders the record $750MM in public money before stepping aside due partially to a falling out with Davis, and told him “Jerry is running wild; I can’t believe this.” Adelson, according to the ESPN reporters, then said he would “kill” the Raiders’ deal in Vegas if Kraft wanted. But Kraft, who had been a backer of the Raiders’ effort, did not want to exercise that prospective option.

Kraft wasn’t the only high-powered NFL figure who was suspicious of Jones’ help here. The Dallas owner helping sway his peers while potentially factoring into the stadium’s finances would cause “a major conflict of interest,” a longtime aide to an NFL owner told ESPN, who added the question of “won’t Mark Davis always be beholden to Jerry Jones?” Bank of America has served as the Cowboys’ bank for 25 years, along with a team sponsor. It’s also the Raiders’ longtime bank.

Davis and NFL executive VP Eric Grubman were working toward different goals, with Davis concentrating solely with Vegas and Grubman working to keep the Raiders in Oakland. Grubman, who also attempted to work with St. Louis last year while Stan Kroenke set his sights on Los Angeles, concluded in December — according to ESPN — Oakland did not have a viable proposal. At that same December league meeting, Badain called Oakland’s proposal a “political, cover-your-ass joke” and said in October, per ESPN, “it would have been better if (Oakland) had offered nothing.”

The stadium proposals received from Oakland are dependent on various contingencies and involve a number of significant uncertainties that membership concluded cannot be solved in a reasonable time,” the league’s statement on the Raiders’ relocation reads (via Scott Bair of CSNBayArea.com, on Twitter), also citing the lack of Oakland progress in a two-year period after the league denied relocation applications in 2015 and placed the Raiders behind the Rams and Chargers in the Los Angeles pecking order a year later. “The proposal to relocate to Las Vegas involves a clearly defined and well-financed proposal for a first-class stadium.”

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC West Rumors: LT, Raiders, San Antonio

LaDainian Tomlinson has joined the Chargers as a “Special Assistant to the owner of the team,” according to a press release. It sounds like Tomlinson will not have a part in front office decisions as his job will focus more on fan relations. His presence could help smooth over tensions with San Diegans who are feeling scorned by the team’s relocation to Los Angeles.

L.T. is one of the most beloved and iconic Chargers of all time,” said Chairman Dean Spanos in the statement. “His active involvement in our fight for Los Angeles is vital, and he represents the very best of what it means to be a Charger on the field and in the community.”

Here’s more from the AFC West:

  • It sounds like we won’t see major progress in the Raiders‘ extension talks with Derek Carr until May or later. “He knows what we’re trying to do in free agency, and he’s never saying, ‘I need to know now. It’s not like that,” GM Reggie McKenzie said, according to Scott Bair of CSNBayArea.com. “More likely, the serious talks will happen after the draft. The communication has been ongoing, just talking about the philosophy of a contract and the thought process around it. Hopefully when the serious talks start going, then it’s going to be easier.” McKenzie also indicated that an extension could be on the way for right guard Gabe Jackson. The Raiders will also discuss a new deal with Khalil Mack, but they have more time on that front thanks to his option for the 2018 season.
  • Multiple cities have reached out to the Raiders expressing interest in being their temporary home, including San Antonio, Vincent Bonsignore of the Los Angeles Daily News tweets. It’s possible that we could see the Raiders make a pit stop on the way from Oakland to Las Vegas.
  • The Broncos will add a third quarterback, but that player is likely to be a young veteran or a rookie.
  • The Chiefs hosted linebacker Rey Maualuga on a visit this week.

NFL Approves Raiders’ Move To Las Vegas

NFL owners have voted to approve the Raiders’ proposed move to Las Vegas, Nevada. With at least 24 votes in favor of the relocation, the road has been paved for the Raiders to leave town and start anew in Sin City. The final tally was 31-1, according to ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter (Twitter link), with the Dolphins as the only nay vote.Raiders cheerleader (vertical)

For many Bay Area fans, this is a crushing blow. The Oakland Raiders were born in 1960 as a member of the revolutionary American Football League. The city of Oakland lost its team in the early 1980s when it migrated to Los Angeles, but the Raiders returned for the 1995 NFL season. Now, more than 20 years later, the Raiders are leaving all over again and, this time, it’s probably for good.

On Monday morning, Oakland mayor Libby Schaaf asked the NFL to hold off on voting, but that was a low-percentage shot in the dark likely designed to try and salvage Schaaf’s standing with dejected Raiders fans. Owners reportedly still like the Bay Area as an NFL market, but they did not agree with Schaaf’s assertion that Oakland has put forward a viable stadium solution. The Raiders have secured a record $750MM in public money for their new LV digs and that will be a major bargaining chip for the league in its future efforts to get stadiums built with taxpayer funds.

Even with the green light from NFL owners, it remains to be seen where the Raiders will play their games between now and when the $1.9 billion stadium is built. The Raiders will play in Oakland in 2017 and they have pledged to play there in 2018 as well. However, if the local fan reaction is too much for the Raiders to withstand, they may want to blow the popsicle stand early. UNLV’s Sam Boyd Stadium could serve as a temporary host for the team, but it will probably need upgrades to meet league standards. If things go south this year in Oakland, those upgrades will have to be in place sooner rather than later.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.