With bank secure, Davis brings Raiders a vote away from Vegas

With bank secure, Davis brings Raiders a vote away from Vegas

In the drips and drops that have characterized much of the information flow rewarding Mark Davis’ financial plan for relocating his legacy – a.k.a. the Raiders – the shoes have finally dropped.

Davis’ right hand, team president Marc Badain, told the NFL’s finance committee Monday in Lantana, FL, that Bank Of America will cover the financing gap in the Las Vegas stadium plan that would presumably house the Raiders if they are allowed to relocate.

The Las Vegas Journal Review reported, and's Scott Bair confirmed, the news after Badain’s presentation, which was designed to soothe worried voters who saw casino owner Sheldon Adelson and then Goldman Sachs pull out of the deal. Daniel Kaplan of Sports Business Daily originally mentioned Bank of America and US Bank as investors, but it is not entirely clear if Bank Of America is providing the financing for the $650 million Adelson had originally pledged or a higher amount. There are apparently no other new investors.

Badain also told the owners’ finance and stadium committees that everything is in place for a relocation vote at the NFL meeting March 26-29 in Phoenix.

Bank of America does a significant amount of business with the NFL, most visible being the naming of the stadium in Charlotte where the Panthers play. Thus, there would need to be minimal vetting of the financial institution in advance of the meetings.

It is not clear whether Dallas owner Jerry Jones helped broker the B of A deal, although rumors surfaced over the last week that he was working to locate financing to make up for Adelson’s withdrawal.

According to the financing plan, Bank of America would finance slightly more than a third of the advertised $1.9 billion for the stadium. In addition, the State of Nevada voted late last year to provide $750 million through a bond issue funded by hotel taxes, and the Raiders and the NFL would be responsible for the remaining $500 million.

Thus, the remaining hurdle for the relocation is now down to owners’ whim. The greatest doubt all along among the owners was whether Davis could secure the money, and now that it seems he has, the only matters that could derail the deal are a latent reluctance to being so closely associated to gambling and Las Vegas’ modest market size.

The gambling issue has been ameliorated by the fact that there are no casino owners or operators involved in the financing. That had been a worry for some owners when Adelson was bringing the cash, especially those owners who had been forced to divest their own casino interests by league rule.

The market size matter remains, but Oakland is largely considered a non-factor by most owners now. The stadium plan offered by Mayor Libby Schaaf and the Fortress Group, which is now controlled by SoftBank, has been derided as both inadequate and unacceptable by the league, and though Schaaf was in Lantana, sources told USA Today's Tom Pellissero that there were no revisions to the original offer.

Thus, Davis has done everything he has been asked to do, and now is a vote away from beating the massive odds people were willing to lay that he would never be allowed to put his team in that city. We will know in three weeks – unless the owners put off a vote until the owners gather next in Chicago in late May, or decide to vote via conference call in the interim.

But if normal protocol is followed, the owners will gather in Phoenix to decide Oakland’s fate as an NFL town for a second time.


Reports: Marshawn Lynch to remain with Raiders in 2018


Reports: Marshawn Lynch to remain with Raiders in 2018

The Raiders signed veteran running back Doug Martin on Thursday, prompting many to believe the move meant the end of Marshawn Lynch's time in Oakland.

But as it has been expected, Martin is just another piece to go along with Lynch in the Raiders' backfield. According to multiple national reports, Lynch will remain in Silver and Black this upcoming season. 

The news will become official when the Raiders pay Lynch his $1 million roster bonus on Sunday. 

“One of the reasons I’m excited to be with the Raiders is to join forces with Lynch. We’ll see what happens," Jon Gruden told Insider Scott Bair at the NFL Scouting Combine. “We have to take a look at the entire roster, but I’m counting on him. I’m counting on him being a big part of this football team.”

Lynch, 31, rushed for 891 yards, averaging 4.3 yards per carry, and scored seven touchdowns for the Raiders in 2017. 

New Raiders cornerback supremely confident, 'here to dominate the league'


New Raiders cornerback supremely confident, 'here to dominate the league'

Rashaan Melvin has the supreme confidence of a No. 1 cornerback, with none of the pedigree. Top cover men are often drafted high, paid well or both, with a steady ascent to elite status.

This undrafted talent bounced around the league without job security, trying and often failing to find NFL footing.

Melvin spent time with Tampa Bay, Miami, Baltimore, New England and Miami again before establishing himself in Indianapolis. The Colts gave him a real shot and he took advantage, evolving into the team’s top cornerback. Last year was Melvin’s best, but it didn’t provide a long-term contract despite a bull market for cover men.

Melvin signed a one-year, $6.5 million deal with the Raiders on Friday, the type of prove-it deal that could establish a big payday down this time next year. The 28-year old doesn’t consider that pressure. Melvin knowns another big year's on the way, one that proves he's an elite cornerback

"I’m here to dominate the league," Melvin said Friday in a conference call. "It might be time for some new faces at the cornerback position. That’s my take on that. I’m excited for it.”

Melvin wouldn’t trade his long road for a conventional path, and believes experience both good and bad has prepared him for a pivotal season.

“I’ve been cut four times,” Melvin said. “I’ve been in four different locker rooms, and I was able to gain my teammates’ trust, my coaches’ trust and the organization’s trust as well. My confidence just grows over time. There are not a lot of players that can say they’ve been cut four times and end up in a situation where I’m at today. Like I said, it’s perfect timing. My work ethic, my style of play and the way I approach the game and the way I approach my job, my business, it speaks for itself.”

Melvin’s work ethic is unquestioned. His reputation as a grinder is well documented, especially after establishing himself in Indianapolis. Commitment to a craft has created a player with consistent coverage and ball skills.

Melvin was excellent last year. According to Pro Football Focus, Melvin created an incomplete pass (combining passes defensed and interceptions) on 23.6 percent of his targets.

Passers had a 60.3 passer rating against him in 2017, with just 29 completions for 328 yards on 55 targets. The passer rating was 86.6 in 2016, his only other season as a regular starter.

The Raiders need that type of player on the outside. They’ve had inconsistent cornerback play (that’s being kind) in recent seasons, and are hoping Melvin provides stability at a key position. The Northern Illinois alum has loftier aspirations, individually and as the leader of a young position group.

“The goal is to be the best player I can be, first-team All-Pro,” Melvin said. “I’m going to show my leadership, help these young guys out this year. They have tons of potential to be successful in their own careers. For me coming in here and being the leader and showing that, hey, this is what it takes to be successful in this football league, that’s what I’m willing to do. That’s what I’m willing to bring to the table. On the football field, but outside as well.”

Paying $6.5 million for all that would be a bargain. Melvin’s the key acquisition in a secondary built around 2016 first-round safety Karl Joseph and 2017 first-round cornerback Gareon Conley. This secondary can be solid if those guys can realize potential and Melvin’s a true No. 1 cornerback.

He considers that title appropriate, and is ready to show he’s more that a one-year wonder. The Raiders have great confidence in Melvin, something clear after targeting him early in the free-agent process. Financing’s always a big factor, but Friday’s meeting with head coach Jon Gruden, defensive coordinator Paul Guenther and secondary coach Derrick Ansley convinced Melvin that Oakland’s a proper fit.

“I can relate to these guys,” Melvin said. “They have big plans for me, big plans for the organization. I was born to be a part of something special; that’s happening in Oakland. It was a good thing. We were able to get everything done, a deal done. I’m just excited to be here and I’m excited to see what the future holds for us as a team and me as a player.”