City Of San Diego

Raiders To Discuss Playing 2019 In Oakland

After the city of Oakland’s lawsuit against the Raiders and NFL, the chances of the team finishing its lame-duck stay in Oakland decreased significantly. But there remains a chance the Raiders stay in their home market for one more year.

The Raiders will meet with the Coliseum Authority one more time to discuss the team playing at its longtime home stadium in 2019.

Yes, there still is a possibility that an agreement can be reached. Not sure what the odds are, but still possible,” Coliseum Authority executive director Scott McKibben said, via the Bay Area News Group’s Jon Becker. “Once the Raiders have completed all their research on other places we will sit down and talk one last time.”

While the Raiders have been searching for other sites, having been most connected to the San Francisco Giants’ AT&T Park, the prospect of remaining in Oakland was not completely scrubbed, either. Mark Davis has not been a proponent of sharing Levi’s Stadium with the 49ers. Though, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reports the Raiders’ most likely 2019 home is AT&T Park or Levi’s Stadium.

A tentative lease for one more Coliseum season existed, per Becker, but the lawsuit nixed that. Said lease was going to more than double the Raiders’ rent for 2019. The Raiders paid $3.5MM in rent this season, Becker reports. Under the tentative agreement, that would have spiked to $7.5MM, with an option to play the 2020 season in Oakland in the event the Las Vegas site was not ready for play yet. The NFL wants the Raiders to make this decision by Super Bowl LIII or shortly after.

The Raiders have not yet discussed a deal with San Diego, but they continue to monitor Qualcomm Stadium as an option, per La Canfora. However, the league office is not sold on that option. Reno, Nev., remains a possibility as well, JLC adds. The London option is now seen as untenable, he notes, adding that Reno would also cause more issues than a season in Santa Clara, Calif., would.

The 49ers still have territorial rights to San Francisco, which could pose a problem for a Raiders season at AT&T Park — located within the San Francisco city limits. But the Raiders are not 100 percent set to move on from their home stadium yet. They remain slated to relocate to Las Vegas for the 2020 season.

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Raiders Have Yet To Talk With San Diego

At this moment, no one knows where the Raiders will be playing in 2019. San Diego has been widely suggested as a temporary landing spot until everything is set in Las Vegas, but as of Tuesday, the Raiders have yet to engage in talks with city authorities.

Our office has not been in communication with the Raiders,” Craig Gustafson, spokesman for the San Diego mayor told Michael Gehlken of the Review-Journal (on Twitter).

Last month, we heard that there is still a possibility of the Raiders playing in Oakland this year. Of course, with lawsuits and ugliness involved, nothing can be said for certain.

Mark Davis previously expressed little interest in sharing Levi’s Stadium with the 49ers, but the league could push that pairing if it winds up being the most logical solution. Given Santa Clara, California’s relative proximity to the Raiders’ fan base and the quality of the stadium, it’s not hard to imagine Roger Goodell advocating for that scenario.

Raiders Playing 2019 In Oakland Still An Option

Last week’s lawsuit placed the Raiders in a strange situation as what was expected to be their penultimate Oakland season wraps up.

They are considering several cities to be their 2019 home, but Oakland may still be an option, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reports. The lawsuit’s timing appears to be a key factor in this process.

The Raiders will face significant backlash from the NFL if they cannot arrive at a solution by Super Bowl LIII, La Canfora reports, with marketing, stadium availability dates and the compilation of the 2019 schedule representing key issues for the league regarding the Raiders. The team will also need NFL approval to leave Oakland for another city next season.

Mark Davis previously expressed little interest in sharing Levi’s Stadium with the 49ers, but JLC adds there is a “strong sense” at the league office the Bay Area will be the best option for the 2019 Raiders. Some NFL executives believe that would be the best solution — that, or the Raiders playing at AT&T Park in San Francisco, where Major League Baseball’s Giants play.

If the Raiders would be interested in playing at the 49ers’ Santa Clara, Calif., stadium, the 49ers would welcome them, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports (video link). Reiterating a possible option being San Diego, Rapoport adds Cal-Berkeley is another.

No lease agreement between the Raiders and the city of Oakland exists for 2019, and this lawsuit figures to make talks for one final lame-duck agreement difficult. Although, Davis said at last week’s owners meetings he has not ruled out one final Oakland season. This was initially the plan, prior to the lawsuit. But the team has been exploring alternatives to a 2019 Oakland season for months, JLC writes, adding that the Raiders were “stunned” by Oakland following through with its long-rumored suit.

One more home game remains on the Raiders’ schedule — a Christmas Eve Monday night clash with the Broncos — and it’s uncertain (again) if this finale will be the Raiders’ Oakland sendoff.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

La Canfora’s Latest: Steelers, Bengals, Bucs

Antonio Brown‘s decision to skip practice on Monday represented a culmination of months of tension between the Steelers and their All-Pro receiver, according to Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com. Brown was upset earlier this year after being told that his personal trainer and social media manager would no longer be welcome on Pittsburgh’s practice field, and some within the organization believe his multi-day absence during training camp — ostensibly due to a injury — was instead related to his disappointment. Ultimately, the Steelers believe Brown simply wants to win, but there is reportedly also concern with the club that quarterback Ben Roethlisberger‘s close relationship with offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner (and his subsequent influence on play-calling) could cause more strain in the locker room.

Here’s more from La Canfora:

  • Bengals running back Joe Mixon could potentially return to the field in time for Week 4, per La Canfora. Mixon underwent knee surgery immediately following Cincinnati’s Week 3 Thursday night victory, and initial assessments indicated he could be sidelined two-to-four weeks. However, because the Bengals played mid-week in Week 3, Mixon’s timeline could be sped up, meaning he could return to action when Cincinnati faces Atlanta next Sunday. A second-round pick in 2017, Mixon was outstanding during the Bengals’ season opener, averaging more than 5.5 yards per carry on the ground while adding five receptions in the passing game. Backup Giovani Bernard is holding down the fort while Mixon is out, while the Bengals also have Mark Walton and Thomas Rawls on their running back depth chart.
  • Ryan Fitzpatrick is unlikely to be replaced as the Buccaneers‘ starting quarterback no matter how he fares against the Steelers on Monday night, reports La Canfora. While Jameis Winston will come off suspension prior to Week 4, Fitzpatrick has been among the league’s best quarterbacks through two games, as he leads the NFL passing yardage while racking up eight passing touchdowns. Fitzpatrick has internal support within the locker room (and especially from Tampa Bay’s offensive line), so the club’s coaching staff is unlikely to make a change any time soon. The Buccaneers face the Bears in Week 4 before heading into a bye the following week.
  • The Raiders will move to Las Vegas either in 2019 or 2020, and they could potentially need a temporary stadium for the 2019 campaign if no extension with the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Authority can be reached. With that in mind, the Raiders have contacted the city of San Diego about playing there next season, says La Canfora, who notes that such as possibility is viewed as remote. More likely, the Raiders will play one year in Oakland, or spend next season sharing Levi’s Stadium with the 49ers.

AFC West Notes: Bolts, Holton, Henderson

Beginning their second year in Los Angeles, the Chargers are in an interesting spot. They have perhaps as talented a roster as they’ve possessed since their late-2000s run of AFC West titles but play in a soccer stadium and carry likely the NFL’s smallest fan base. The NFL gave Dean Spanos the option of leaving San Diego for L.A. in 2016, and he exercised it once the Bolts’ bid to secure public funding for a downtown stadium failed. But some owners were disappointed Spanos took the league up on the San Diego exit strategy, author Mark Leibovich writes in his new book, “Big Game: The NFL In Dangerous Times” (via Tom Krasovic of the San Diego Union-Tribune). Some of the owners were displeased with the efforts he put forth to land a new stadium deal in San Diego, Leibovich writes, adding this contingent of power brokers were “miffed” the Chargers owner turned the situation into “a towering embarrassment.”

This is an interesting stance considering the NFL gave the Chargers L.A. dibs before the Raiders, but now that the Bolts moved, they don’t appear to be thriving in their new market. That could have been expected given their lack of history in Los Angeles compared to the Rams or Raiders. Krasovic adds some around the league wonder if Spanos will sell the Chargers a few years into their stay at Stan Kroenke‘s Inglewood stadium in believing the franchise’s value will have peaked by then.

Here’s the latest from the AFC West:

  • Joey Bosa‘s official diagnosis is a bone bruise on his left foot, Eric Williams of ESPN.com tweets. The Chargers defensive end is not expected to need surgery, with rest and rehab being the current plan to get the stalwart pass rusher back on the field. He’s not expected to play against the Bills on Sunday, and Anthony Lynn wouldn’t be surprised if he missed more games.
  • Another day, another interesting move from Jon Gruden. The Raiders recently brought back wide receiver Johnny Holton, a backup who played in 31 games for Jack Del Rio‘s final two Oakland teams, but they’re going to try him as a cornerback, OC Greg Olson said (via the Las Vegas Review-Journal’s Michael Gehlken, on Twitter). These type of moves are rare but not unprecedented. That said, Holton — currently on the Raiders’ practice squad — has never played cornerback at any level, per Vic Tafur of The Athletic (via Twitter). A UDFA out of Cincinnati, Holton caught nine passes for 218 yards and three touchdowns last season.
  • The Broncos cut ties with Carlos Henderson, potentially for good, by removing him from their practice squad on Thursday. Vance Joseph said (via Troy Renck of Denver7, on Twitter) this was strictly a football decision and wasn’t related to the 2017 third-round pick’s suspension or his absence from training camp. Only four Broncos 2017 draftees — Garett Bolles, DeMarcus Walker, Jake Butt and Chad Kelly — remain on the active roster. Two others (cornerback Brendan Langley and return man Isaiah McKenzie) are on the practice squad. Henderson has to play in a regular-season game.

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.

West Rumors: Raiders, Broncos, Cards, Rams

The Raiders have activated rookie cornerback Gareon Conley from the active/PUP list, the club announced today, adding that Conley is practicing for the first time on Tuesday. Conley, of course, slid to the 24th overall selection in the draft following rape allegations, but he was eventually cleared and won’t face charges. While he still needs to get up to speed, it’s possible Conley could become a starter sooner rather than later. Fellow cornerback Sean Smith –who’s facing his own legal troubles — has been demoted from Oakland’s starting lineup, meaning Conley could see expanded action during his rookie campaign.

Here’s more from the NFL’s two West divisions:

  • Veteran safety T.J. Ward may not be the only player the Broncos are open to trading, as the club could also listen to offers for fourth-year receiver Cody Latimer. speculates Troy Renck of Denver7 (Twitter link). Latimer, a second-round draft choice in 2014, has never broken out in Denver, as he’s posted 16 receptions over three seasons. However, he’s still young (25), plays special teams (41% of the Broncos’ ST plays a year ago), and offers intriguing measurables (here’s his MockDraftable profile). And perhaps most importantly, Latimer could be had for minimal cost, especially given the rise of fellow receivers Jordan Taylor and Kalif Raymond in Denver, as Renck details.
  • While Cardinals linebacker Deone Bucannon was recently removed from the active/PUP list, it’s an open question as to whether he’ll be ready Week 1, writes Sarah McLellan of the Arizona Republic. The Cardinals have the depth to withstand a short Bucannon absence, as they signed Karlos Dansby, Josh Bynes, and Philip Wheeler and drafted Haason Reddick this offseason. But a Bucannon injury will be felt, as he played on nearly three-quarters of Arizona’s defensive snaps last season, managing 89 tackles in the process. He’s signed through 2018 under the terms of his fifth-year option.
  • Rams tight end Temarrick Hemingway will require surgery for a fractured fibula and is out indefinitely, tweets Vincent Bonsignore of the Los Angeles Daily News. Hemingway, who appeared in eight games last season after being drafted in the sixth round, has been challenging for a rotational role behind fellow tight ends Gerald Everett and Tyler Higbee, per Bonsignore, which makes Hemingway’s injury all the more devastating. Los Angeles could conceivably sign another tight end before the season begins, although high-profile free agents like Gary Barnidge or Ladarius Green probably aren’t a fit.
  • On Monday, the California Supreme Court ruled that special taxes may be raised via citizen’s initiative through a simple majority, instead of the two-thirds majority that was previously required, according to Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union Tribune. While those new rules won’t help bring the Chargers back to San Diego, it could allow the city to eventually lure another club to the region. However, the Chargers’ 2016 stadium measure received only 43.64% of the vote, per Acee, meaning taxes wouldn’t have been raised even under the new conditions.

Latest On Potential Cities For Raiders

Contrary to a report that the Raiders’ hopes of relocating to Las Vegas are “all but dead,” multiple sources have told Vincent Bonsignore of the Los Angeles Daily News that the plan is “absolutely salvageable.” Bosnignore adds that Las Vegas-based businessman Sheldon Adelson, who on Monday backed out of putting $650MM toward a new stadium for the Raiders, will attend the Super Bowl in Houston on Sunday. There’s no word as to whether he’ll meet with Raiders owner Mark Davis and restart negotiations, however (Twitter link).

Raiders Fan/Vegas

The loss of potential financial support from both Adelson and Goldman Sachs has led to optimism that the Raiders could end up staying in Oakland, but Davis still doesn’t seem eager to keep the franchise there. In fact, the Raiders haven’t even contacted Oakland officials since Adelson bailed, according to Jason Cole of Bleacher Report (video link). Three sources indicated to Cole that the Vegas dream is indeed “dead,” though, which conflicts with what Bonsignore has heard. If it is off the table and the Raiders aren’t open to remaining in Oakland, Cole names San Antonio – a city with which the Raiders have had past flirtations – as a possible destination.

Having lost the Chargers to LA last month, the city of San Diego has also come up as a suitor for the Raiders. Mayor Kevin Faulconer has already contacted the league to let it know of San Diego’s interest, and Don Banks of SI.com and NFL.com reports that the Raiders could head there and play in the Chargers’ longtime home, Qualcomm Stadium.

While the Chargers were unwilling to continue in the 50-year-old facility, the notion of it undergoing a significant facelift and then housing the Raiders “will gain support in league circles,” writes Banks. Should that come to fruition, the NFL would regain the San Diego market, which it didn’t want to lose in the first place; further, the Raiders would land a stadium upgrade over the Oakland Coliseum, notes Banks, who adds that the league wouldn’t be opposed to having three Southern California-based franchises.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Raiders’ Future: Vegas, Oakland, SD

After casino magnate Sheldon Adelson scrapped his plan to commit $650MM toward a $1.9 billion stadium in Las Vegas for the Raiders on Monday, there was a report that Goldman Sachs might also bail because of its relationship with Adelson. It turns out that will be the case. The investment firm will not help the Raiders finance a stadium without the 83-year-old Adelson’s involvement, a source told Nathan Fenno of the Los Angeles Times (Twitter link).

Mark Davis

Goldman Sachs was supposed to be the Raiders’ fallback option in the event of Adelson’s withdrawal. Not having either could be a death blow to the franchise’s hopes of relocating to Las Vegas. With neither around to aid the Raiders, staying in Oakland for the long haul could become a more realistic scenario than it was was previously.

Raiders owner Mark Davis hasn’t been amenable to the joint stadium proposal that the city of Oakland and the Ronnie Lott-fronted Fortress Group have put forth, but the deal isn’t without merit, as CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora writes. The city would set aside 130 acres of land for a stadium and handle all the taxes associated with it, per La Canfora, who adds that the NFL would chip in $300MM. Another $300MM to $400MM would come from Fortress (plus whatever else is necessary to complete construction) toward a stadium to replace the outdated Oakland Coliseum. Fortress would also perhaps want an ownership stake in the Raiders – something Davis is not open to giving out – but there could be other ways for him to “make them whole,” according to La Canfora.

Lott’s group issued a hopeful statement Tuesday in the wake of the Adelson news, saying (via Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk): “We stand ready to work with the team and NFL to keep the Raiders here at home. We have the land available at the existing Coliseum site following the actions of the City of Oakland and Alameda County last December. We have a strong financing partner in Fortress Investment Group. We have an additional $100 million due to the NFL incentive to keep the Raiders in Oakland. And of course, we have the best fans in the world right here in the heart of Raider Nation. Add to all that a diverse and fast growing community, a top 10 television market, and more Fortune 500 companies than any region in the western United States. Bottom line, if the Raiders want to stay in Oakland, we are more than ready to be a partner in making that happen.”

If Davis can’t make things work in either Vegas or Oakland, the suddenly Chargers-less city of San Diego could quickly regain entry into the league. Mayor Kevin Faulconer reached out to the NFL on Tuesday to let the league know it’s interested in the Oakland franchise, while another San Diego official at least made an attempt to contact the Raiders, but it’s unknown if the two sides spoke, reports Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune.

San Diego’s plan to erect a stadium for a Major League Soccer franchise could help its cause in landing the Raiders, relays Acee, who notes that the proposal “sets aside a 16-acre parcel specifically for an NFL stadium” to replace Qualcomm Stadium. Further, Davis “loves” the city and might be more flexible in negotiations to build a facility there than Chargers owner Dean Spanos was. It’s also worth noting that the league didn’t want to lose the San Diego market, as the Chargers’ relocation left commissioner Roger Goodell “disappointed” and owners “very upset.” Those same parties haven’t been overly enthusiastic regarding the prospect of the Raiders playing in Las Vegas, the gambling capital of the United States.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.