Latest Raiders stadium plan unlikely to be accepted by anyone who matters

Latest Raiders stadium plan unlikely to be accepted by anyone who matters

So Oakland and Alameda County played their respective aces, offering up a loosely constructed $1.3 billion plan to build a new football-only stadium for the Oakland-Until-Further-Notice Raiders.
Now they have to see if they can make those aces look more to Davis and the NFL like jacks and less like an unsuited trey-nine. And, more to the point, whether they should want to.
The latest bit of inventory from this shoe store avalanche is the stadium plan the city and county voted to attempt to present to the 32 NFL owners (Davis included), one which most people expect to be rejected in its current form – Davis because he’s given no indication he wants to hear anything Oakland has to say, and the NFL because it has significant reservations about the Fortress Group, the money people holding up Ronnie Lott as their human shield.
That would under normal circumstances be as effective as St. Louis’ 2015 stadium funding plan to keep the Rams out of Los Angeles. But every city is different, every beneficiary is different, every vote is different . . .
. . . and every act of grandstanding is different.
The city and county did this as a matter of course, to show their constituents that they’re putting their best face forward as regards to saving a team that doesn’t want to be saved. So no, they don’t expect this to be accepted by the NFL, or even reviewed by Davis. They just want to say they did something more than tell them to get off the lawn.
The problem, of course, is that while the Oakland plan is probably insufficient to please anyone in the football business, and maybe even a lot of people in the local political business, the Las Vegas plan Davis clearly and loudly prefers contains its own drawbacks.
Market size, and Sheldon Adelson.
Las Vegas is a much smaller market, and there are concerns that it cannot be self-sustaining on a fan base that will have to be heavily augmented by fans flying in from Oakland and Los Angeles.
Adelson, the billionaire who pledged an alleged $650 million to the Las Vegas stadium, which is allegedly going to run $1.9 billion (and when we say “alleged” and “allegedly,” we mean “alleged” and “allegedly”), has balked about going forward, and the NFL isn’t crazy about doing business with him anyway.
So why not just cut Adelson out and simplify the process, you ask? Because nothing happens in Las Vegas without Adelson’s knowledge and/or approval, and he can kill any deal anyone wants to make if he so chooses.
Which brings us back to Oakland. If either the NFL spurns Las Vegas or Adelson decides to get pushy, Davis must return to Oakland devoid of leverage save whatever the city and county decide to grant him – and let’s be honest here, politicians talk leverage a lot more than they actually wield it, so caving like invertebrate cowards is not out of the question.
This stadium proposal, uninspiring though it might be, is the latest lurch in this oft-twisted journey, and is unlikely in any event to meet with the approval of anyone who truly matters . . . including, might we add, the Athletics, who have been hoping that the departure of the Raiders would leave them free and clear to pursue their civic-approved stadium dreams.
And at a time when the procedures for solving this billionaire-induced nightmare should be clear, it becomes murkier yet.
Oakland and Alameda County shouldn’t be in the stadium business to begin with, which is why the original idea to sell the Coliseum land and just collect taxes from the buyer forever was the only sane plan to attempt. But this plan only lessens the impact of the essential error, which is trying to do business with people who are way richer, way more lawyered and way less interested in anyone’s interests save their own. In short, in dealing with the Raiders and the league, the city and county are clearly out of theirs.
But they’re choosing an empty gesture for political reasons that could backfire on them if it is accepted.
Yes, accepted. They’ll be dealing with an owner in Mark Davis who will regard staying in Oakland as another personal defeat in a series of them. They’ll be dealing with a league (and a business strategy, actually) that regards citizens’ money as their own and promises as one-way streets. And they will have spent $350 million of public money on a plan that at in its current form can best be called a speculative mess, and at worst the opening gambit in a deal that will hammer the city and county in the same ways that Mount Davis did two decades ago.
And who doesn’t think that was a great idea – other than everyone ever?

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.”