Oakland Raiders officially apply for relocation to Las Vegas

Oakland Raiders officially apply for relocation to Las Vegas

The Oakland Raiders have applied for relocation to Las Vegas.

The long-expected filing was officially announced by the NFL on Thursday morning, shortly after Clark County Commission chairman Steve Sisolak broke the news on Twitter.

Raiders owner Mark Davis said on several occasions he was committed to moving his franchise to Las Vegas, especially after the Nevada state legislature approved $750 million in public funds for a $1.9 billion stadium project near the Las Vegas Strip.

The Raiders had to wait until after their season ended – the Raiders lost their playoff opener at Houston on Jan. 7 – to apply for relocation.

“Today, the Oakland Raiders submitted an application to relocate their franchise to Las Vegas, as is provided for under the NFL Policy and Procedures for Proposed Franchise Relocations,” the NFL said in a statement. “The application will be reviewed in the coming weeks by league staff and the Stadium and Finance Committees. The relocation of a franchise requires the affirmative vote of three-quarters of the NFL clubs (24 of 32).”

A vote could come at the NFL owners meetings in late March. It’s uncertain whether Davis has the votes needed to relocate, but there has been momentum building for such a move over the past several months.

Davis has said that, even if the Raiders are approved for relocation, he plans on playing in Oakland the next few years while a Las Vegas stadium is built. The team has already sent out season ticket pricing to fans for the 2017 season. The Raiders have one-year team options to play Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum in the 2017 and 2018 seasons.

The Las Vegas stadium isn’t expected to be ready until the 2020 season.

Placing a team in Las Vegas was a non-starter in the fairly recent past. NFL ownership, buoyed by a record commitment of public funds, has warmed to the idea of placing a franchise in Sin City. Legalized gambling isn’t the hurdle it once was. Moving from a large market to a smaller one isn’t ideal, but Oakland and Alameda County officials haven’t provided the NFL with a stadium plan it considers viable.

The league doesn’t like third parties directly involved in negotiations -- it prefers direct work between team and municipality -- one of a few sticking points with Oakland’s negotiation agreement and stadium financing outline constructed with Fortress Investments and a group fronted by former 49ers and Raiders safety Ronnie Lott.

The Raiders have moved forward on a Las Vegas stadium proposal that includes $750 in public financing funded by a tourism tax and $500 million from the Raiders – that sum includes a $200 million loan from the NFL, and the sale of personal seat licenses and stadium naming rights.

Casino magnate Sheldon Adelson has also committed $650 million to the project if a business deal with the Raiders can be worked out. According to the NFL Network, those negotiations are ongoing.

The Raiders told the Las Vegas Stadium Authority board that they can proceed with or without Adelson. The Goldman Sachs investment firm is reportedly prepared to back the project if Adelson isn’t involved.

The Raiders applied for relocation last season as well. In 2016, they sought approval for a stadium project in the L.A. suburb of Carson with the Chargers. The league approved the Rams project in Inglewood over the Raiders-Chargers proposal. The Chargers were given a year to decide whether to join the Rams in L.A., and exercised that option last week.

Report: Ndamukong Suh calls off meeting with Raiders


Report: Ndamukong Suh calls off meeting with Raiders

Ndamukong Suh won’t meet with the Raiders, after all. The star defensive tackle cut Alameda out of his free-agent tour, according to NFL Network, choosing instead to head home after stops in New Orleans, Tennessee and the L.A. Rams.

NFLN reports that Suh had dinner with Rams coach Sean McVay on Tuesday night, and was due in Oakland the following day. The Rams made a solid impression

Suh is reportedly mulling options from all three aforementioned playoff teams, all of which have more working salary-cap space and other stalwarts along the defensive line.

That’s surely a disappointment for the Raiders, who have had interest in Suh dating back to his last free-agent experience in 2015. The Silver and Black couldn’t afford him then. It seems unlikely they can afford him now, with precious little salary-cap space remaining after being active in free agency’s second wave.

The Raiders also hope to lock Khalil Mack up long-term with a massive extension this offseason.

It’s uncertain at this stage whether player or team cancelled the meeting, or exactly why it was called off. The Raiders could still sign a veteran defensive tackle, and/or acquire one early in the NFL Draft.

Raiders restructure Marshawn Lynch's contract


Raiders restructure Marshawn Lynch's contract

Marshawn Lynch restructured his contract this week, virtually locking him in for the 2018 Raiders season.

The veteran exchanged some base salary for guaranteed funds and an increased incentive package, according to contract details obtained Wednesday by the Las Vegas Review Journal.

His base salary drops from $4 million to $2.5 million, but becomes guaranteed. None of the funds Lynch had coming in his previous deal were guaranteed. He has a $1 million roster bonus coming on Saturday, just six days after receiving a $1 million roster bonus as required in his old contract.

That essentially guarantees him $4.5 million, as sure a sign as any he’ll be the Raiders feature back. Lynch will lead his position group, with support from veteran addition Doug Martin. DeAndre Washington and Jalen Richard are also on the roster, though it’s uncertain if both guys will remain there this fall.

Lynch can also earn $3.75 million in incentives, a significant increase from the $2 million available in the previous deal.

The Raiders saved $500,000 in salary cap space with the new deal.