Barring two longshots, Mark Davis will get his wish of Raiders in Vegas

Barring two longshots, Mark Davis will get his wish of Raiders in Vegas

So Mark Davis said he’d like to be in Las Vegas right now, does he? He has a commitment with the governor of Nevada, does he? It’s a symbiotic relationship, is it? Why, that carpetbagging lost-a-bet-with-a-barber hyena.

Except that isn’t it at all. This is not-news news, because he’s been saying this in one form or another for nearly a year, since he lost the right to say he’d rather be in Inglewood. And he’ll say it again unless/until Vegas falls through.

It’s all noise, after all. Davis has very clearly wanted out of Oakland for nearly two years, and maybe longer than that, to the point where he would cozy up to any city that showed him some cash and a bit of leg. Remember San Antonio?

So now it’s Las Vegas as Davis’ new favorite girl, at least until an owners’ vote that would happen in March at the earliest, and May at the latest, and the process is as we have been outlined more than once already.

SHOE ONE: San Diego has a hotel tax ballot measure that would help fund a new stadium for the Chargers which is expected to fail. If/when it does, Chargers owner Dean Spanos has an option to join Rams owner Stan Kroenke in Los Angeles that expires in January.

Spanos could decline the option, either because he won the election, couldn’t stomach moving in with Kroenke, has resigned himself to the desperation of being in a town that won’t give him untold millions, or develops an as-yet-unexpressed interest in Las Vegas himself.

SHOE TWO: Davis must supplicate himself to his 31 fellow owners (well, 30, and the club president in Green Bay) and try to get 24 of them to back his play. He could begin this process as soon as tomorrow in Houston, when the owners gather for a regularly-scheduled meeting at the Marriott Galleria (try the tapas; they’re to die for), by making an informal presentation, or even as little as some informal (read: cordial but desperate) buttonholing of his colleagues in search of their traditionally sub-atomic kindness.

The problem for Davis here, of course, is that the owners already showed their level of esteem for him in January when they sunk the Carson stadium plan co-sponsored by Spanos and Davis, and in any event don’t give anything away for free. They could offer him Las Vegas in exchange for any number of terms of varying onerousness, including slow-motion divestiture of voting control of the team, in which case he would have to decide between life under Kroenke’s heel and life in Oakland trapped in the Coliseum until he dies.

Shoe Two is the thin espadrille upon which the East Bay can hold its hope, hope that Davis seems utterly disinterested in fostering. He has been stridently reluctant to engaging directly with the Oakland and Alameda County political establishments and they with him, a mutual and seemingly near-permanent condition.

So that’s where the Raiders Relocation saga is now. The long-held area-wide apathy surrounding a potential Raider move is finally beginning to dissipate, because $750 million makes a lot of things very real. Mark Davis has a willing partner with a bloated wallet of taxpayer money, and now all he has to do is convince a group of men who found him and his plan wanting 10 months that he’s a better guy and this is a better plan.

In other words, for Oakland Raider fans, disinterest, boredom and now desperation has given way to fatalism. Those who continue to hope have had their scenarios in defense of the status quo reduced to two -- that the other owners decide they’d rather have nobody in Las Vegas than Mark Davis, and that the deal offered to him by Stan Kroenke in Los Angeles is worse than the non-deal offered him by Oakland and the Coliseum.

Under any other circumstance, the Raiders will leave town for the second time in less than a quarter-century, and there may not be enough people interested enough to fight over who should be held responsible, because in the final analysis, it is Mark Davis. He has wanted to go for a good long time, and barring a series of relative longshots, he will.

Raiders retain E.J. Manuel, now have four QBs on the roster


Raiders retain E.J. Manuel, now have four QBs on the roster

The Raiders have a lot of quarterbacks under contract, certainly more than they’ll have come September.

That means the battle to be Derek Carr’s backup should be fierce. EJ Manuel had that title last year, with a shot to retain it after re-signing with the club on Thursday afternoon.

Veteran Josh Johnson signed up Monday, and those two will join third-year man Connor Cook behind Carr on the depth chart.

New head coach Jon Gruden loved Cook coming out of the draft, but the Michigan State alum failed to earn the backup job last season and must make a move up the depth chart to kickstart his career.

Manuel has a strong arm and starting experience, making him a steady and solid backup option. He completed 24-of-43 passes for 265 yards, a touchdown and an interception in two games when Carr was hurt.

Johnson might be a camp arm at this point, though he’ll be given a chance to compete this spring and summer.

Carr has been hurt for at least a small stretch in each of the last two seasons. Having Manuel in that spot might offer stability.

Gruden addressed last year’s backup quarterbacks last month at the NFL Scouting Combine.

Gruden on Manuel: “I think EJ is a young, talented guy,” Gruden said. “He’s been in the facility working out on his own every day. There is a bright upside to him, too, as a young quarterback to keep working with. He’s a free agent, but the Philadelphia Eagles proved that’s a pretty damn important position, isn’t it? Right? So we have to address that and see where we are.”

Gruden on Cook: “I am kind of surprised Connor hasn’t played in two years, other than the playoff game he got in as a rookie. After Derek got hurt last year, they turned the ball to EJ. I don’t know where Connor Cook is. I am frustrated right now that I can’t spend any time with him, but, April 9th (when the Raiders offeseason program starts) will be an exciting day for me and Connor Cook.”

Raiders sign tackle Breno Giacomini


Raiders sign tackle Breno Giacomini

The Raiders need help at right tackle, the lone vacancy along their offensive line. They signed a veteran presence on Thursday afternoon, adding 32-year old Breno Giacomini as the frontrunner to join the starting five.

He has 86 starts in 94 career games, and has been a full-time starter three of the last four years. Giacomini spent 2017 in Houston and the previous three seasons with the New York Jets.

He was a Seattle Seahawk before that, working with Raiders offensive line coach Tom Cable for three of his four years there. Cable gave Giacomini his first chance to start in the second half of 2011, and held the post through 2012.

The bond between the two is clearly strong, considering what Giacomini tweeted shortly after Cable got fired in Seattle.

Coach and player will reunite, hoping to provide steadiness on the right side of the Raiders offensive line.

He’ll compete for a starting spot with Vadal Alexander, second-year pros David Sharpe and Jylan Ware and possibly a drafted player. Giacomini should be considered the favorite unless the Raiders use an early pick on an offensive lineman.

Giacomini has plenty of starts, but his Pro Football Focus numbers aren’t pretty. The analytics says he allowed nine sacks, eight quarterback hits and 64 pressures with Houston last year. He had some decent years under Cable, and a return to that form might push him into the starting lineup for good. Time will tell on that front.