Oakland Raiders? Las Vegas Raiders? Other? All things are chaos

Oakland Raiders? Las Vegas Raiders? Other? All things are chaos

Yesterday, Las Vegas casino mogul and civic bigfoot Sheldon Adelson pulled out of the Las Vegas Raiders stadium deal over outward annoyance with the Raiders’ negotiating tactics and inward annoyance over the idea that the Raiders would try to finance without him. Today, he allegedly put in a word with the Goldman Sachs people with whom he does a great deal of business, and they are now apparently pulling out of the deal as well.

So with that as today's blue plate hot mess, the Raiders revert to Oakland, right? Mark Davis’ carefully constructed deal has collapsed in a heap over the risky choice of alienating the most powerful man in the city in which he wishes to reside, see? Happy days in a concrete eyesore are here again?

Well, not so fast.

There are other shoes yet to fall here, and nobody should assume that Adelson and Goldman are the only places in Las Vegas with Scrooge McDuck money. Nor should we assume that it has to be Vegas money at all.

Nor, for that matter, should we assume there is any money anywhere. In short, we should assume nothing at all.

But what we know is potentially damaging to Davis’ ongoing plans to be the owner of the No Longer Oakland Raiders. There have been no new talks, even informal ones, with the Oakland or Alameda County political establishments, let alone the Fortress Group that is contracted to build any new Oakland football stadium, so he is not yet ready to retreat.

And if he isn’t ready to retreat, he must have something else in mind to salvage the Vegas deal – something that Adelson in his jilted ire can’t derail.

And if that is so, the next nut to crack is the oft-reported $650 million that Adelson was allegedly throwing into the alleged $1.9 billion project.

There have always been rumors that the actual cost of the stadium wasn’t $1.9 billion at all, but at least 25 percent lower and maybe more than that. If that is so, the Adelson contribution could have been closer to $200 million, and much more easily replaced, as a number of NFL insiders have said.

The next bit of business would be identifying the new Adelson, and the names that keep coming up are those of the Fertitta brothers, Lorenzo Fertitta, who own Station Casinos and just sold Ultimate Fighting Championships for $4 billion. They have long been believed to be keen on getting into the NFL, and on the assumption that the league is no longer skittish about ownership connections with gaming interests after its long and well-documented ties with gamblers in bygone days, they would have ready investable cash to throw into Davis’ pot.

Which brings us to the back end of this seemingly convoluted scenario – the long-held assumption that league approval for Davis’ move would likely come at the slow but steady loss of his team, where he might have to agree to sell off equity chunks at intermittent times until he no longer reaches the 20 percent ownership threshold for being the official owner for league purposes (he is currently believe to hold a percentage in the low 40s).

That bit of low-hanging meat would intrigue the Fertittas as it intrigued Adelson, and it could intrigue other investors as well.

Throw into the pot the fact that some owners are absolutely hot for Vegas anyway because there is money to be had there, and the even more nagging fact that they still mostly hate the Oakland deal because of the presence of the Fortress Group as the city’s chosen partner for the Coliseum land Davis has been adamant is the only place he would accept, and you have this – a machine that was in the process of being streamlined a week ago but is now taking on new gears and pulleys dumped into the engine and bringing things to yet another seemingly grinding halt.

In other words, everything is exasperatingly in play again – including, by default, Oakland. But there is no evidence of a grand, overarching or even believable plan today. All things are chaos, and all intentions go against the run of play. Vegas was the safe money play and now it isn’t. Oakland was the prohibitive longshot, and now it isn’t.

And nobody in or out of the NFL or Las Vegas knows where this is heading except toward that March 26 owners meeting in Houston, which could result in . . . you guessed it, more helpings of status with a side of quo. Another year of “study,” another year of stasis, another year without any sign of anything other than another year after that.

And maybe in the end, we get the Oakland Raiders – The Team That Even Money Couldn’t Buy.

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.”

Raiders sign former 49ers defensive lineman


Raiders sign former 49ers defensive lineman

Update (3/17, 11:15 a.m.): The Raiders have officially signed former 49ers lineman Tank Carradine.


Raiders head coach Jon Gruden wanted veterans to help turn his defense around. He added a linebacker and defensive backs aplenty. Then, on Friday night, he gave the front some help.

Former 49ers defensive lineman Tank Carradine will sign with the Raiders, the 28-year old announced on his Instagram page. 

The Sacramento Bee first reported the news. 

He visited the Raiders on Thursday and was in Seattle earlier Friday, but will sign with the Silver and Black.

Carradine could help their transition to a more traditional 4-3 alignment, able to play end in the base defense. He has proven himself as a solid run defender, but believes he can be an effective pass rusher if given the opportunity.

Carradine didn’t get many pass-rushing chances with the 49ers, who generally removed him on passing downs. He has 5.5 sacks in four professional seasons. He played 37.9 percent of 49ers defensive snaps during eight games with the 49ers last season. He missed the same amount on short-term injured reserve with an ankle injury.

At 6-foot-4, 270 pounds, he has the size to be a 4-3 base end. He’ll likely have to battle Mario Edwards Jr. for snaps opposite Khalil Mack, though Bruce Irvin will take that spot in sub packages.

Carradine will be the 10th free-agent signing expected to make the roster, which means the roster turnover this summer should be significant. 

Here was his Instagram post from Friday night: 

Proud to become an Oakland Raider! Let's go #raiders#nation

A post shared by Tank Carradine (@tank.carradine) on