Raiders

Las Vegas stadium lease agreement won't be ready by NFL owners' meeting

Las Vegas stadium lease agreement won't be ready by NFL owners' meeting

LAS VEGAS -- The lease agreement for a proposed Las Vegas NFL stadium will not be ready before league owners meet later this month, when they could potentially vote on whether to approve the relocation of the Oakland Raiders.

Members of the board that oversees the proposed stadium gathered Thursday in Las Vegas to discuss some of the terms they would like to see in the agreement. They made one thing clear: A final lease agreement for the proposed $1.9 billion, 65,000-seat domed stadium won't be reached within weeks.

"There's been a little bit of discussion about the timing necessity of the lease, and certainly, we are going to work expeditiously in order to get that lease done," Las Vegas Stadium Authority Board chairman Steve Hill said. "But I also want to say that we are not going to rush that process."

Three-quarters of the league's owners must approve the Raiders' relocation, and they could decide without a lease agreement being finalized. A vote could come at the owners meetings in Phoenix at the end of March.

The team has told the board at a previous meeting that the owners wanted to see progress on the agreement and financing before the vote.

"My sense is that the approval will probably come, if it comes, with some conditions around what's important to the NFL around what the content of that lease would be," Hill said after the meeting.

It came the same week the team presented to the NFL a new financing proposal backed by Bank of America. The Raiders sought a new partner after casino magnate Sheldon Adelson withdrew a $650 million pledge last month.

Hotel room tax revenue from the city is slated to pay $750 million toward construction, while the Raiders and NFL would pay the remaining $500 million.

The team has presented the stadium authority board with a lease proposal that covers the Raiders' use of the stadium, luxury box seats, concession sales, ticket revenue, merchandise and parking. It suggested $1 a year in rent.

The team has been looking for a new stadium for years as it seeks to move out of the outdated Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, which is the only stadium used by both an NFL and Major League Baseball team and is unable to generate the revenue for the Raiders the way more modern stadiums around the league can.

The Las Vegas board heard Thursday from the Houston-based attorney it hired for negotiations. Among the issues discussed were provisions that could be included in the deal that would guarantee the stadium features branding from the University of Nevada Las Vegas' football team, which would play home games there.

"That's obviously a big concern to UNLV," board member Mike Newcomb said. "They want the fans coming in to see the UNLV Rebels in the end zone."

Under the proposed lease agreement, the Raiders would have to approve any field markings.

"The team shall use reasonable efforts to support collegiate field markings, but the team shall have no obligation to compromise its field markings or field conditions for collegiate games at any time," documents say.

The mayor of Oakland, the team's current city, made a presentation Monday to league committees in hopes of persuading owners to prevent the Raiders from moving.

The Raiders paid $3.5 million in rent to play at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum in 2016, up from $925,000 for the 2015 season. The team has options to remain at the stadium for the 2017 and 2018 seasons.

A site has not been picked for proposed Sin City stadium, although a parcel of land near the Las Vegas Strip has emerged as a preferred location.

Raiders expect Lynch ruling soon; 'it would be the fairest thing'

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USATSI

Raiders expect Lynch ruling soon; 'it would be the fairest thing'

Running back Marshawn Lynch formally appealed his one-game suspension on Monday afternoon.

The Raiders hope to hear a ruling by Tuesday.

“I think we expect to hear something early in the week, hopefully by tomorrow,” head coach Jack Del Rio said in a Monday press conference. “(It) would be the fairest thing so that the team can prepare.”

That’s the expectation, according to an ESPN report. The Raiders should know by Tuesday whether Lynch’s suspension for unsportsmanlike conduct will stand.

The suspension stems from a Thursday night incident where he left the sidelines to join an on-field fracas involving Raiders offensive linemen and Kansas City cornerback Marcus Peters. The third-year pro was penalized for a late hit on Raiders quarterback Derek Carr his linemen didn’t take kindly.

Peters and Lynch are extremely close friends and Oakland natives, and Lynch instinctively went out to protect someone he views as family. He inadvertently grabbed an official by the jersey and let go shortly after. He was flagged and ejected by rule.

He missed most of Thursday’s 31-30 victory over the Chiefs, and the NFL suspended him one game without pay on Friday. That could cost Lynch a $79,411 game check and a $31,250 per-game roster bonus.

ESPN reports that Peters by phone spoke at Lynch’s appeal hearing, where the running back’s team also cited precedent of others contacting an official without getting suspended. Leaving the sideline, however, may not help his appeal.

Del Rio said he hadn’t spoken with Lynch since the ejection.

“I said the other night I was disappointed that we had a player leave the bench,” Del Rio said. “It’s something we talk about – don’t leave the bench area.”

The Raiders ran with Jalen Richard and DeAndre Washington after Lynch’s ejection, and combined for 67 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries. The pair with shoulder a rushing load Sunday at Buffalo if Lynch is unavailable.

“They don’t have the size and the power but they have a little more quickness, they catch the ball a little easier, better route-runners, things like so,” Del Rio said. “So, if you’re playing a little more wide open, in some respects they give you a little more juice. Marshawn give you the power back when you want to finish people and in tough situations. Those guys give you more than a change of pace.”

 

Raiders put Amari Cooper in position to break out vs Chiefs

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AP

Raiders put Amari Cooper in position to break out vs Chiefs

Raiders receiver Amari Cooper has been creating steady separation for a few weeks now. That didn’t break him out of a prolonged slump.

Coaches were impressed by Cooper’s route running in a Week 5 loss to Baltimore. It only earned two targets and an eight-yard catch. They tried to find No. 89 more often in a Week 6 loss to the L.A. Chargers, though six targets generated five short catches for 28 yards.

Low production stretched through a four-game losing streak, with nine catches for 51 yards. Including stats from to early wins, Coopers season stats (18 catches, 146 yards and a touchdown) were worse than nearly 200 others.

Even that astonishment didn’t make Cooper demand the gosh darn football, please. The low-key Cooper attitude: The ball will find me.

It finally did in Thursday night’s 31-30 victory over Kansas City. Several times in fact.

Cooper had 11 catches for 210 yards and two touchdowns. He was targeted 19 times. Nineteen. That’s no coincidence.

They moved him around, including significant snaps in the slot. He was targeted 11 times from that position, per analytics site Pro Football Focus, and produced six catches for 95 yards and a touchdown.

They schemed opportunities and quarterback Derek Carr used them to create big plays early.

Carr’s first pass went 12-yards to Cooper. His third was a 38-yard touchdown strike. His seventh was an in-stride delivery that Cooper took across and then up the field for a 45-yard score.

Just like that, Cooper was off and running for the first time this year.

“We put him in positions to make plays, obviously,” Carr said. “We knew that there were certain things that we liked. Nothing changed in his demeanor or his mentality or the way he worked or anything like that. We just stayed the course. We know what we have here and we know that if we just stay the course and work and grind through the tough times.

“…For ‘Coop’ to just continue to grind and get on the other side of it, I just felt good for him. You guys know Amari. I think we all felt good for him.”

Cooper said the early explosive touches provided confidence. Ability produced a signature performance. The Alabama product is excellent extending production with his legs, and had 78 of his yards come after the catch. That’s an average of 7.1 yards after the catch per reception, per PFF.

His second touchdown reached him 15 yards downfield, and he hit the jets and reached the end zone. He turned a short catch into 15 crucial yards to start the game-winning two-minute drill, and later high pointed a 39-yard receptions.

“The way he finished after the catch was really special,” Carr said. “Obviously, we all know he can go up and get a ball and all those things. That second touchdown where he cam across, the burst that he had, that’s freakish. Not a lot of guys have that. To turn the jets on like that and just out run the angles of the defense, that was really special. I think just after the catch he just played with some dog in him, which we know he has. We were able to get him the ball and let him shine and do what he does.”

Cooper’s showcase was vital to a huge victory that kept his team in the hunt. It also ended a rough month where Cooper and the Raiders both struggled. Veteran running mate Michael Crabtree was never concerned with the downturn and told the young receiver to stay the course during tough times.

“(I told him), ‘Just be you,’” Crabtree said. “It’s just about everything coming together. Coop’s a fighter, man. Coop has got skills. I don’t worry about Coop and I’m sure he doesn’t worry about me. That’s why we are so good together.”