City Of Los Angeles

AFC Rumors: Chargers, D. Harris, Flacco

A league spokesperson, Joe Lockhart, said earlier this week there have been no discussions about the Chargers returning to San Diego, and a team source confirmed as much to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. The source said simply, “We’re not going back.”

Of course, the Chargers are losing the battle for Los Angeles at the moment, leading some to speculate that the league could choose to reverse course and ship the Bolts back from whence they came. Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk also suggests that Lockhart’s quote is not as unequivocal as it could be; Lockhart said there have been no discussions about a return to San Diego, not that a return will not happen. Plus, Florio points out that the Chargers source who spoke with Rapoport did so anonymously, which creates the impression that there’s something sensitive about the notion that the Chargers aren’t looking back.

That may be a bit of a reach, particularly since San Diego still does not have a stadium option, which prompted the move in the first place. Anything can happen, of course, but as of right now, it does not look as if the Chargers will be leaving LA.

Now for more from the AFC. We took a swing around the NFC earlier today:

  • Patriots linebacker David Harris, whom the team signed to a two-year, $5MM deal ($1.25MM guaranteed) in June, has been active for four of New England’s five games but has played in only seven defensive snaps. He is behind four other players on the LB depth chart, leading Mike Reiss of ESPN.com to speculate that, without a significant injury to another player, Harris’ job could be in jeopardy. Reiss cites Harris’ lack of speed as the primary reason for his lack of playing time.
  • After starting the season 2-0, the Ravens have looked awful in their following two games against the Jaguars and Steelers, making today’s matchup the Raiders almost a must-win. As usual, quarterback Joe Flacco has been a popular whipping boy for the team’s struggles, despite the rash of crippling injuries to the O-line, the lack of a running game, and the lack of imagination in play-calling. But it is clear that something has to give, though if Baltimore were inclined to release Flacco — and Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun suggests that thought is not on anyone’s mind at the moment — it would likely not happen until 2019 at the earliest. At that point, if Baltimore continues to struggle, the Ravens could have a whole new coaching staff. It is worth noting, as Zrebiec does, that the one time in Flacco’s career that he has worked with an accomplished offensive coordinator (Gary Kubiak in 2014), he enjoyed the best season of his career, even though the talent around him was not much better than it usually is.
  • Although Browns fans may not like to hear it, Terry Pluto of the Cleveland Plainer Dealer believes that Cleveland’s front office is going about building the team the right way. It is stockpiling picks, limiting free agent spending, and some young players are developing as hoped. There have, of course, been some missteps in terms of personnel evaluation, but Pluto suggests the coaching staff is as much to blame for the team’s 1-19 record over the last 20 games as the front office. He says the only thing to do is to stay the course and continue to focus on the draft, though the team will likely need to spend more in free agency than it originally expected. It may also need to reevaluate DeShone Kizer sooner than it hoped.

NFL: We’re Not Moving Chargers Back To SD

The Chargers are in a “Fight For L.A.” and, so far, they’re losing. The Bolts are 0-4 and playing in front of crowds that cannot fill up the 27,000 StubHub Center, but the league says it will not reverse course on the move. Chargers cheerleader (vertical)

There is no discussion of returning to San Diego from the league or the club,” a league spokesperson told Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter).

We’re only one month into the Chargers’ inaugural season in Los Angeles, but it already looks like the team and the league may have made a judgement error. The Chargers have failed to forge a fanbase in a city where many residents cheer for the Raiders and most of the others have already aligned themselves with the Rams. That could all change quickly if the Chargers start winning games, but they’re on pace to miss the postseason for the fourth consecutive year.

The Chargers are slated to move into Rams owner Stan Kroenke’s Inglewood stadium in 2020. If things don’t pick up in the interim, the league may want to reconsider their gameplan.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Chargers To Relocate To Los Angeles

The Chargers will have a new home in 2017: The franchise could announce as early as Thursday that it’s moving from San Diego to Los Angeles, reports ESPN’s Adam Schefter (Twitter link). In doing so, the Chargers will end their 55-year run in San Diego and join the Stan Kroenke-led Rams, who departed St. Louis for LA last winter.

Los Angeles Rams & Chargers (featured)

The Chargers and Rams agreed in principle to a deal last January to share a stadium in Inglewood, which is currently under construction and set to open in 2019. Chargers owner Dean Spanos could have headed to LA then, but he instead kept the franchise in San Diego for 2016 in hopes of working out a new stadium deal there.

Spanos was unable to make anything happen in San Diego, however, as the money the city, the county, the Chargers and the league had combined to commit still fell $175MM short of what a Qualcomm Stadium replacement would have cost. Spanos had until Jan. 17 to strike a deal in San Diego and avoid relocation, but he is abandoning that possibility less than a week before the deadline.

It’s unclear where the Chargers will play the next couple seasons as they wait for the Inglewood facility to open. They could share the Los Angeles Coliseum with the Rams and USC Trojans, though the StubHub Center in Carson, Calif., has also come up as a potential stopgap. However, that stadium is only capable of holding 27,000 people. The Chargers called the Coliseum home in 1960, their inaugural season, before relocating to San Diego the next year. That partnership worked out for five and a half decades, but now the Chargers are headed back to where they began.

With the Bolts’ future now known, all eyes will turn to the Raiders, who could also go elsewhere – Las Vegas – by next season. The Raiders were an outside possibility for LA, but that’s now officially off the table. The franchise has until Feb. 15 to file for Vegas relocation, and the league’s 31 other owners could vote on its fate sometime in March.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Chargers’, Raiders’ Relocation

The Chargers had been facing a Jan. 15 deadline to decide whether to join the Rams in Los Angeles by next season, but the NFL pushed that date back Wednesday, per the Associated Press. The Bolts now have until Jan. 17 to choose their fate, and the league is still holding out hope that they’ll remain in San Diego, a source told Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune. However, the league won’t prevent owner Dean Spanos from relocating the team if he’s unable to find a stadium solution in San Diego, another source informed Acee.

Dean Spanos (vertical)

“No one is going to tell Dean he can’t go,” said the source. “They’re going to tell him he shouldn’t go.”

Spanos doesn’t seem eager to leave San Diego, but he also hasn’t made enough progress toward a new facility that would replace the 50-year-old Qualcomm Stadium. As of last week, the Chargers were of the belief that a $100MM to $175MM gap existed between the funds the city, county, league and team were willing to put forth and what a new stadium would actually cost. That remains the case, per Acee, who now lists the figure at exactly $175MM.

The Chargers would welcome more financial aid from the league, but its owners – especially the Rams’ Stan Kroenke – haven’t shown any urgency to make that happen, according to Jason Cole of Bleacher Report (Twitter link). With that in mind, the Chargers are operating as if they’re about to relocate, Acee reports. The franchise has already drafted a press release and planned a news conference, though Acee adds that it did the same a year ago before delaying its LA decision.

The league’s stadium and finance committees met Wednesday to discuss the futures of the Chargers and Raiders, but the latter club was the primary focus.

“There was little to no discussion on the topic of the Chargers,” league executive Eric Grubman revealed.

The Raiders have until Feb. 15 to file for relocation to Las Vegas, where businessman Sheldon Adelson could contribute $650MM to a $1.9 billion stadium. The two sides continue making progress after some previous hiccups in negotiations, tweets Cole, but the Raiders aren’t going to be content to let their Vegas dreams slip away if Adelson backs out.

“The Raiders are looking at the potential of doing [it] without Mr. Adelson if it comes down to that,” said Steelers owner Art Rooney II, who’s also chairman of the league’s stadium committee.

There’s no word on exactly how the Raiders would raise $650MM in Adelson’s absence. The team is set to put forth $500MM toward the cause, while Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval and state Legislature previously signed off on contributing a record $750MM in public funds.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Futures Of Raiders, Chargers

The Raiders have long been preparing to file for Las Vegas relocation after the season, but owner Mark Davis’ relationship with casino mogul Sheldon Adelson has hit rough patches along the way. Adelson, who could commit $650MM to a $1.9 billion stadium in Las Vegas, threatened to bail out in October. That preceded a December report stating he and Davis had continued to encounter difficulties in their talks.

Las Vegas Raiders (featured)

It now appears the two sides are on the right track, though, as they’ve “made significant progress” in negotiations, according to Jason Cole of Bleacher Report (Twitter link). The Raiders previously cleared a major relocation hurdle in October when Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval and state Legislature signed off on a record $750MM in public money toward a stadium. If Adelson follows through on his commitment, the Raiders would take care of the rest and put forth $500MM.

With Adelson on board, the Raiders would still have to file for relocation, which they could do this month, and receive at least 23 approval votes from the league’s other 31 owners to head from Oakland to Las Vegas by next season. The voting process would likely take place in March, Cole reported in October.

Like the Raiders, the Chargers could leave their current home this offseason, but owner Dean Spanos hasn’t shown much eagerness to depart San Diego. The league’s finance and stadium committees will meet Jan. 11 to discuss the Chargers’ future, per the Associated Press, which could mean the team will hold off on announcing its 2017 plans this week, writes Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune. The Chargers are facing a Jan. 15 deadline to choose whether to join the Rams in Los Angeles, but they could land an extension that would enable them to postpone the decision, a source told Acee.

To this point, neither the Raiders nor Chargers have come close to finding stadium solutions in their current cities. Oakland, with the help of ex-Raider Ronnie Lott, has a $1.3 billion stadium proposal on the table, but the franchise doesn’t view it as economically viable. San Diego – both the city and county – and San Diego State are willing to put up $375MM toward a facility for the Chargers, who would contribute $350MM and receive another $300MM from the league. However, the Chargers contend that joint effort would still fall anywhere from $100MM to $175MM short of what it would cost to build a stadium, notes Acee.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Chargers’ Relocation Decision

Although Dean Spanos on Sunday categorized himself as being closer to taking the Chargers to Los Angeles than keeping them in San Diego, he continues to exhaust options after the city voted down the team’s stadium proposal.

As an exercise in assessing the statuses of potential contributors to a long-sought-after new stadium, the Chargers president met with mayor Kevin Faulconer, county supervisor Ron Roberts and San Diego State Elliot Hirschman, Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. Both the Chargers and the NFL have said they require specifics from city officials before the team makes a decision on L.A., one that as of now needs to be made by Jan. 15.

Acee reports some sources familiar with Spanos’ thinking here continue to say the Inglewood move remains the better bet, but Spanos will not make a decision until after the season ends Jan. 1. Faulconer and Roger Goodell remain in talks. Goodell, though, did not speak highly of proposals coming out of San Diego or Oakland lately. After several months of dormancy, Oakland is now further along in a proposal to keep the Raiders than San Diego is to retain the Chargers after the team’s preferred plan was soundly defeated at the ballot box last month.

The Chargers are preparing to some degree on relocating, securing 3.2 acres in Costa Mesa, Calif., for what would be their headquarters if they moved, Scott Reid of the Orange County Register reports. They are also working with Costa Mesa city officials to secure permits for practice fields nearby, per Reid. Costa Mesa is located near Irvine, nearly 40 miles south of Los Angeles.

Spanos is expected to survey several sites for the Chargers’ Los Angeles/Orange County headquarters, with Costa Mesa expected to receive consideration to become the team’s long-term base site. The Bolts will also have offices in Inglewood in the event they move, Reid reports. However, the agreed-upon lease with the Costa Mesa site would be terminated should the Bolts stay in San Diego. This marks the second time Spanos has sought temporary headquarters in Orange County, having submitted a plan for an indoor practice facility before opting to try for a downtown-San Diego venue.

While San Diego’s now seen as the underdog here despite the Bolts’ roots being there and questions about where they would fall in the Los Angeles sports hierarchy, sources familiar with NFL relocations tell Acee a solution still exists to keep the Chargers where they are — in the nearby suburb of Mission Valley. The Chargers went around the city’s wishes for their new stadium to be located near their current venue in Mission Valley when they went all in on the downtown venture, and Spanos has long said the Mission Valley site is not a workable solution. But some around the league wish the Chargers president would compromise on this issue to help this last-ditch effort by the city.

Sources also told Acee a downtown stadium could work as well, only without the convention center attachment, but the Chargers might be uneasy about making another run at this after the last one fell wildly short of the required votes threshold. The San Diego-based writer added that the recent events — a strange proposal by city council members of a 99-year lease at Qualcomm featuring $1 annual payments by the Chargers, unproductive talks with the city, and Raiders fans enveloping Qualcomm on Sunday in a 19-16 Bolts loss — have left Spanos more despondent than he was after the seminal L.A. vote went the Rams’ way in January.

Acee maintains the NFL will find a way to keep the Chargers where they are, but concrete solutions have yet to emerge on this front with the current L.A. deadline three weeks away.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Futures Of Raiders, Chargers

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell once again expressed a desire to keep the Raiders and Chargers in their current cities Wednesday, but he admitted that neither Oakland nor San Diego has made much progress toward a new stadium.

“There’s not a stadium proposal on the table that we think addresses the long-term issues of the club that’s in those communities. So we need to continue to work at it,” said Goodell (via Eric D. Williams of ESPN.com).

Raiders Las Vegas (featured)

Raiders owner Mark Davis plans to relocate the franchise to Las Vegas, and though Goodell would reportedly like to prevent that from happening, he spoke favorably of Sin City on Wednesday.

“There are some real strengths to the Las Vegas market,” Goodell said. “It’s clear that the Las Vegas market has become a more diversified market, more broadly involved with entertainment and hosting big events.”

Goodell also indicated that “there is a growth” to the Las Vegas market, which is much smaller than the Raiders’ current home in the Bay Area. In an effort to keep the Raiders from leaving the Bay Area, officials from the city of Oakland and the Ronnie Lott-led Fortress Investment Group have proposed a $1.3 billion stadium to replace the Oakland Coliseum. Both the Alameda County board of supervisors and Oakland city council voted to approve that plan Tuesday, per Lorenzo Reyes of USA Today. However, there’s little optimism it’ll lead anywhere, with one league executive calling the bid a “carbon copy” of previous failed attempts.

The Raiders’ relocation window is set to open Jan. 2, but the date will move back until the actual end of their season, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). That means the likely playoff-bound club won’t have the opportunity to vie for relocation until February if it makes the Super Bowl, and the deadline to file is Feb. 15. Regardless of how far the Raiders go this season, Steelers chairman Art Rooney II doesn’t expect the league to vote on their relocation plan until March, per Judy Battista of NFL.com (Twitter link). Fellow owner Jim Irsay, who runs the Colts, seems to think relocation for the Raiders and Chargers is a mere formality.

“There just isn’t any opportunity in Oakland or San Diego,” Irsay said. “As owners, we’re aware of that. It’s unfortunate. You don’t like to see it. But it’s reality.”

Dean Spanos (vertical)

Owners unanimously approved the Chargers’ nearly year-old agreement to share the Los Angeles market with the Rams on Wednesday. They also signed off on allowing the Bolts to use a debt waiver to finance part of the $650MM relocation fee. Chargers owner Dean Spanos has until Jan. 15 to decide whether to take his franchise to LA, and while he could perhaps extend that deadline, Irsay argues that there wouldn’t be a purpose.

“This process has been going on for a very, very long time in San Diego,” Irsay said. “That being said, to extend it, I think, would be fruitless. I really do.”

Spanos, meanwhile, reiterated that he won’t make a choice until 2017.

“I’m not going to make any decisions until after the first of the year,” he told Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune. “That’s really all I have to say.”

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

West Notes: Chargers, Berry, Fisher, 49ers

Another Chargers season is barreling toward a postseason exclusion brings relocation talk to the forefront for a second straight year. The 5-7 team may have just four games left in San Diego. However, Dean Spanos has delayed this Los Angeles commitment for a while, and the team’s chairman will continue to exhaust his options before making an official pledge to join Stan Kroenke and the Rams in Inglewood.

Spanos will meet with San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer, other city officials, and business leaders this week, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. The Chargers’ city for the past 55 years, San Diego is viewed as being behind Los Angeles in this race, especially after voters resoundingly shot down their measure for a downtown stadium last month. Although Spanos has not made his decision yet, Rapoport reports (via Twitter) the city needs a strong proposal to keep the Chargers.

A combination of a love for San Diego, wanting to avoid a scenario where the Chargers are the Rams’ tenant in L.A., or possibly a future where the Bolts enter an uncertain period regarding who exactly their fanbase is may work in San Diego’s favor. But the city may need a miracle to keep the Chargers regardless of those factors since the stadium proposal was shot down so emphatically.

Here’s more from the AFC and NFC’s westernmost franchises.

  • The Chiefs balked at meeting Eric Berry‘s asking price this summer and still face a reality where their most popular player departs next year. Berry scored twice today on a pick-6 and a pick-2, if you will, to help the Chiefs upset the Falcons. He will turn 28 later this month, and Terez Paylor of the Kansas City Star writes the team needs to do everything it can to keep the cancer survivor in Kansas City. Thanks largely to a spree of extensions over the past few years, the Chiefs will be up against the cap in 2017, with OverTheCap projecting them to be more than $1MM over the next salary ceiling. This is without Berry or Dontari Poe on the books for next season. It would cost the team $12.967MM to franchise Berry again. That would be the highest safety cap number by over $1MM for 2017.
  • Jeff Fisher confirmed the contract extension he agreed to with the Rams was signed over the summer, Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times tweets. “This was done well before the season. It was done well before we had 90,000 people in the Coliseum for our first preseason game,” Fisher said after the Rams’ loss to the Patriots (via Farmer, on Twitter). However, the Rams’ continued regression should not make it a lock the veteran coach is back in Los Angeles next year, Vincent Bonsignore of the Orange County Register writes. Viewing this short extension as a gesture of gratitude for helping shepherd the Rams’ move from St. Louis, Bonsignore still expects Fisher to be coaching for his job in the final month of the season. The Rams will finish at .500 or worse for the 13th straight year, and Fisher helping rebuild the team’s defense in the past five seasons might not be enough to save his job if the offense continues at its current rate, the Los Angeles-area writer notes.
  • Despite Colin Kaepernick being ready to test his value on the free agent market, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk envisions a path for the polarizing passer back to San Francisco. The sixth-year veteran voiding the contract still leaves the 49ers in charge of his rights until March, so the team could re-sign the 29-year-old quarterback. But that option, per Florio, likely stalls if the 49ers oust their power structure after the season. Florio also writes other teams might not be as quick to sign off on the former Pro Bowl performer due to the backlash that could come from fans as a result of his anthem protests.

Latest On Raiders’, Chargers’ Relocation

Although the Raiders and owner Mark Davis appear to be moving full-steam ahead with their plan to relocate to Las Vegas, not every NFL owner is on board, according to Jason Cole of Bleacher Report (all links to Twitter). Multiple owners voiced various concerns with a potential move to Las Vegas at a recent league financial meeting, per Cole, who adds the NFL is now viewing the situation as a choice between two poor options.Las Vegas Raiders (featured)

At least two owners on the 15-man finance committee voiced concerns about the “logic” of transferring the Raiders from Oakland to Las Vegas, according to Cole, adding substance to recent reports that have indicated that Las Vegas’ small market size — not its reputation — is giving owners pause. League officials seem to agree, as they presented a study that showed Vegas would have the smallest “potential season ticket base” in the NFL, per Cole.

Another owner was skeptical of the relationship between Davis and financier Sheldon Adelson, and even argued that the Raiders should be wedged out of the NFL’s local revenue sharing agreement if they relocate to Vegas. Meanwhile, owners aren’t sold on Fortress Investment Group, which is set to contribute $600MM in private money towards a new stadium, and don’t believe the company is “trustworthy,” reports Cole.

On the Chargers, Cole corroborates Jim Trotter of ESPN.com’s recent report that the Bolts are likely to move to Los Angeles in the near future, although no “definitive statement” was made at the league’s meetings. The Chargers are progressing towards a deal with the Rams to share a stadium in Inglewood, California, but owner Dean Spanos “loves” San Diego, per Cole, and is presumably ready to exhaust every effort to stay put.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Futures Of Raiders, Chargers

The Raiders remain on track to file for Las Vegas relocation in January, reports ESPN’s Jim Trotter. And, “barring a miracle,” the Chargers will likely declare their intention to move to Los Angeles at the same time (Twitter link). The Chargers have until Jan. 15 to decide whether to join the Rams in LA.

Las Vegas Raiders (featured)

Both Raiders owner Mark Davis and the Chargers’ Dean Spanos will need 23 of their colleagues to OK their respective moves when they file for relocation. But Davis is in for a “battle royal,” according to Trotter, who adds that certain “old-guard owners” and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell are against the idea of putting a team in Las Vegas (Twitter links). Not only would doing so place a franchise in the gambling capital of the United States, but it would also mean trading the the Raiders’ Bay Area market for a smaller one. The Raiders currently play in the league’s sixth-biggest market, whereas Las Vegas is just the country’s 40th-largest market, as Mark Purdy of the San Jose Mercury News wrote in October.

As for Goodell, his wariness of Las Vegas has been known for a while, with a source telling CBS’ Sports Jason La Canfora in October, “Even if this came to a vote early next year, I wouldn’t at all discount Roger’s ability to garner 9-12 votes against [a move] if he believes firmly that Oakland is in the best interest of the league.”

The main reason the Raiders are exploring relocation is because the city of Oakland hasn’t made much progress toward building a new stadium to replace the 50-year-old Coliseum. That may have changed somewhat earlier this week, though, as Mayor Libby Schaaf outlined a financing plan for a potential facility. Schaaf is hoping a combination of $600MM in private money from former Raider Ronnie Lott and the Fortress Investment Group of New York, $300MM from Davis, $200MM in public money and $200MM from the league will entice the Raiders to stay, according to Phil Matler and Andy Ross of the San Francisco Chronicle. In addition to kicking in $300MM – the same amount he’d put forth for a Las Vegas stadium – Davis would likely have to take on Lott and his group as minority owners. The league’s on board with that idea, per Matler and Ross, but it’s unclear what Davis’ feelings are. At the moment, the plan is for Schaaf & Co. to submit the outline to the league’s owners to demonstrate that they’re serious about keeping the Raiders in Oakland.

Los Angeles Rams & Chargers (featured)

The Chargers have shown a desire to stay in San Diego, but they’re “out of ideas” for securing a new stadium and will essentially need a miracle over the next month and a half to avoid relocation, per Trotter (Twitter links). The Chargers and Rams are reportedly progressing toward an LA agreement, so it seems increasingly likely that the Bolts are in their final season in San Diego. While their lease at 49-year-old Qualcomm Stadium runs through 2020, it’s possible the Chargers will break it and spend the next two years either sharing the LA Coliseum with the Rams or playing at the StubHub Center in Carson, Calif., until the $2.6 billion facility in Inglewood opens in 2019.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.