Source: Bank of America commits to help finance Raiders' stadium in Vegas

Source: Bank of America commits to help finance Raiders' stadium in Vegas

The Raiders recently lost a significant portion of their financing for a Las Vegas stadium proposal. They’ve got it back.

The club informed the NFL stadium and finance committees that it received a financing commitment from Bank of America on the proposed $1.9 billion project, a league source told CSN California on Monday.

The Raiders’ relocation prospects looked glum last month, when billionaire casino magnate Sheldon Adelson removed his $650 million commitment to the stadium project after struggling to secure a proper business deal with the Raiders.

Investment firm Goldman Sachs backed out of the deal the following day, creating a huge funding gap in a stadium proposal aimed at getting the Raiders out of Oakland.

The state of Nevada has pledged $750 million in public funds from a tourism tax, with an additional $500 million coming from the Raiders and a loan from the NFL. Bank of America's backing will fund the rest of the project.

The Raiders hope their new financing plan will be well received by the league and set up an opportunity for owners to vote on their Raiders relocation application at the NFL owners meetings from March 26-28 in Phoenix.

A vote doesn’t have to come then, and could occur later in the spring or summer. The Raiders will play in Oakland next season, and have a team option to play here in 2018 as well.

Oakland mayor Libby Schaff also updated the NFL's stadium and financing commitees on a proposal to keep the Raiders in the East Bay, though a separate league source indicated there was nothing new to sway the league.  She released a statement emphasizing the city's intentions Monday afternoon. 

“Oakland is ready to compete," Schaff said in the statement. "We were excited to be offered the opportunity to make a presentation before the National Football League’s Joint Stadium and Finance Committee in Florida. We want to thank the NFL for this invitation to share our vision for a locally-supported proposal that could result in a new home for the Raiders in Oakland.

“Today, we presented a plan that we believe responsibly meets the needs of all parties. We made a sound economic case for keeping the Raiders in Oakland through the creation of what could become one of America’s premier mixed-use sporting venues. Ours is a project that enhances the use of the already-entitled Oakland Coliseum site for the Raiders and for the public benefit and leverages the site’s proximity to BART and other public transit options, Oakland International Airport and major freeways.

“The Oakland solution for the Raiders keeps the Raiders at home in Oakland, in the country’s sixth largest media market that is demonstrating strong growth due to its innovative and diverse economy. 

“What we presented demonstrated the commitment and effort made by the jurisdictions that oversee the stadium land -- Alameda County and the City of Oakland. I thank Alameda County Supervisor Scott Haggerty and Oakland City Council President Larry Reid for their leadership. We have worked collaboratively with Ronnie Lott, Rodney Peete and the investors they have assembled behind this Oakland-based project. Together, we’ve created a framework that gives the Raiders a new stadium in Oakland that is responsible to the team, the league, the fans and Oakland taxpayers.

“The City of Oakland is prepared to support this effort in a way that does not endanger the City’s general fund using the “but for” taxes generated by the project to provide up to $200 million for public infrastructure and transportation improvements. This will support a new stadium and ancillary development that will enhance the economic vitality of East Oakland and better serve our community. Additionally, the City and the County are prepared to leverage the value of the land at this transit-rich site to create jobs, an enhanced fan experience and other opportunities.

“Ronnie Lott, Rodney Peete and the Fortress Group bring the financial assets and the capability to ensure construction completion, manage the sale of private seat licenses and cover any cost overruns – three things that are essential for a successful project to get done. Ronnie Lott and Rodney Peete also bring deep and extensive ties with the NFL, the Raiders and our community.”

Raiders roster turning over quickly with Gruden in town


Raiders roster turning over quickly with Gruden in town

The Raiders went quiet during free agency’s first wave. They avoided paying heavy freight for some top talent with name recognition, but came on strong as last week grew late.

Most moves came from Thursday on, with a flurry of activity that radically changed the Raiders roster. There was something for everybody, with a receiver, and critical nuts and bolts of Jon Gruden’s run game. Defensive coordinator Paul Guenther’s starting lineup got upgraded at linebacker and the secondary. A versatile defensive lineman joined the crew. Special teams got a new long snapper and some core coverage guys.

Michael Crabtree got cut. Cordarrelle Patterson was traded. Gruden found an upgrade over one guy, didn’t need the other.

The Raiders signed 10 players through Sunday night virtually guaranteed to make the 53-man roster, and Griff Whalen's got a shot. That’s a roughly 20 percent roster turnover right there – a draft class is also on the way – and the Raiders aren’t done in free agency.

Receiver Ryan Grant’s reportedly due in Alameda on Monday, and he might not leave. The Raiders have Patterson’s money to spare, assuming, of course, Grant passes a physical.

A bargain defensive tackle might be coming down the pike. Maybe. Time will tell on that front.

The Raiders had $20-plus million in salary-cap space entering free agency, but managed to spend smart in an attempt to get quality and quantity.

They’re believed to be close the salary cap after all this activity, but can create space by releasing veterans without guaranteed money. That happened with Sean Smith and the Patterson trade. Others can be cleared easily to import players who fit Gruden’s style and come available late.

Significant roster turnover is common with new coaches, who need fits for new offensive and defensive systems. Gruden was able to move fast in those aims, armed with significant clout in roster construction.

The head coach got hired in January, hired a staff to build schemes and evaluated the roster. The Raiders have some excellent pieces, Derek Carr and Khalil Mack chief among them.

It was also clear Gruden considered the roster lacking on several fronts. He said the Raiders weren’t getting enough from their last three draft classes, an accurate statement to be sure. He purged some productive members of last year’s squad he didn’t consider fits, and those already gone won’t be the last.

Recently signed free agents will take jobs. So will draft picks selected next month, as Gruden works to overhaul a roster and get more out of talent already on the roster.

It’s clear he’s heavily involved in picking these players, and will be responsible for getting the most out of the group, understanding full well it probably take a few offseasons to get it just right.

Let’s take a look at key free-agents the Raiders have added so far, and what to expect from each guy:

-- WR Jordy Nelson: He’s the offseason’s big fish. The Raiders expect Nelson to be a locker room leader and a steadying on-field presence. They had no problem choosing him over Crabtree as part of a complete makeover at receiver.

-- CB Rashaan Melvin: Pencil him in to start opposite Gareon Conley. Better yet, use pen.

-- LB Tahir Whitehead: He’s a versatile talent with experience at every linebacker position, with success on the weak side. Whitehead can play in the middle, a role he might assume if NaVorro Bowman isn’t re-signed. Bringing Bowman back remains a possibility, however, especially if his market isn’t stout. Whitehead should also help Cory James and Marquel Lee and Nicholas Morrow grow.

-- S Marcus Gilchrist: He isn’t a dynamic playmaker, but is a solid versatile talent who can play either safety spot or in the slot. He should start right away.

-- RB Doug Martin: He’ll be a secondary option to Marshawn Lynch, but should see significant carries. His presence might spell trouble for DeAndre Washington or (less likely) Jalen Richard.

-- FB Keith Smith: Gruden said told the former Cowboy he has big plans for him. The blocking fullback will be integral to this scheme, and he’ll certainly help on special teams.

-- TE Derek Carrier: A blocking tight end can help in the run game, and has versatility required to catch passes. He’ll join Lee Smith in jumbo sets.

-- DE Tank Carradine: A solid run stopper who will compete for time at base defensive end, but believes he can be a better pass rusher than his stats suggest.

-- LB Kyle Wilbur: The Raiders need core special teams players. Wilbur can be one, and could help on defense in a pinch.

-- LS Andrew DePaola: Jon Condo’s replacement.

-- WR Griff Whalen: The Stanford product will compete for a return gig, and a spot as a backup receiver.

Source: Raiders trading veteran WR Patterson to Patriots


Source: Raiders trading veteran WR Patterson to Patriots

The Raiders are trading receiver/kickoff returner Cordarrelle Patterson to the New England Patriots, a league source told NBC Sports Bay Area on Sunday afternoon.

The Raiders will receive a fifth-round pick, while sending a sixth-round pick back to New England, according to the NFL Network. Patterson must pass a physical to complete the transaction, NFL Network is also reporting.

The moved frees $3.25 million in salary cap space for a Raiders team that was up against the NFL spending threshold. Former Washington receiver Ryan Grant is reportedly visiting the Raiders’ Alameda complex soon. Grant is available after a failed physical voided his free-agent deal with Baltimore. He passed a physical in Indianapolis, NFL Network reported, but left the Colts without a contract. Grant is a surehanded target who averaged 12.7 yards per receptions and had just three drops in 63 targets. 

The Raiders will likely add another receiver if Grant doesn't come aboard. One of head coach Jon Gruden's preference could be found in the NFL draft if Grant goes elsewhere.

The Raiders also added receiver Griff Whalen, a Stanford alum who has some returning experience, before free agency began. 

Patterson proved a productive, explosive member of last year’s offense, primarily as a gadget player. Patterson finished the season with 31 catches for 309 yards, and had 13 receptions for 121 yards and two touchdowns.

He never became a steady, standard receiving option, and wasn’t able to shed his reputation as a relatively poor route runner. That likely made him expendable in  Gruden’s eye. He needs quality routes and steady hands from his wideouts.

That outweighs Patterson’s prowess returning kickoffs. The two-time All-Pro averages 30.2 yards per kickoff return over five seasons, with five return touchdowns to his credit.

The Patriots are well known for excellent special teams play, and needed a returner with Dion Lewis leaving for Tennessee in free agent. The Super Bowl runners up now have a dynamic returner and gunner to pair with solid coverage and return units.

This is a developing story. Check back for further details.