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The team has been looking for a new stadium for years as it seeks to move out of the outdated Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, which is the only stadium used by both an NFL and Major League Baseball team and is unable to generate the revenue for the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

NFL free agency: Why Le'Veon Bell to Raiders could be perfect signing

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NFL free agency: Why Le'Veon Bell to Raiders could be perfect signing

Finally, Le'Veon Bell will get his wish and become a free agent

Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert told local reporters the team will not place a franchise or transition tag on Bell this offseason. The two-time All-Pro running back sat out the entire 2018 season while in contract disputes with the team. 

"Le'Veon is still a great player," Colbert said. "We can't afford to use any other type of tags. Le'Veon will be an unrestricted free agent at the start of the new league year."

Bell appeared to be pretty happy about the decision.

Bell declined to sign a franchise tender last year, turning down $14.5 million as he held out the entire season. 

Now that he will be a free agent, Bell certainly won't remain a Steeler. Could he join the Raiders, though? 

Bleacher Report's Matt Miller thinks he could be a good fit.

Bell certainly does fit all three phases for the Raiders -- need, money and big name. Let's start with need. 

The Raiders' top two running backs from last season -- Doug Martin and Marshawn Lynch -- are both unrestricted free agents. Both are also over 30 years old, and have nowhere near Bell's talent. And the team's third-leading rusher, Jalen Richard, is a restricted free agent. 

When Bell, who just turned 27, last played in 2017, he rushed for 1,291 yards and nine touchdowns. The Raiders' trio previously mentioned combined for fewer than 100 more yards rushing in 2018. Plus, Bell is a threat as a receiver as well -- he has 2,660 career receiving yards, too. 

[RELATED: Le'Veon Bell to Raiders? Oddsmakers like Jon Gruden and Co.'s chances]

Secondly, the money. Bell wants to get paid, and the Raiders have the cash to do so. They will have roughly $81 million in salary cap space this offseason, with plenty of holes to fill on the roster. 

Lastly, the star power. The Raiders could certainly use and Bell certainly has it. Year 1 of Jon Gruden's return didn't go as planned.

To turn things around and kick off their move to Vegas in 2020, Bell could be the perfect player as the new face of their franchise. 

Why Mel Kiper Jr. considers Raiders NFL draft's 'most fascinating team'

Why Mel Kiper Jr. considers Raiders NFL draft's 'most fascinating team'

The Raiders have four of the first 35 overall picks in the 2019 NFL Draft, including three in the opening round. They have Jon Gruden making picks and Mike Mayock as his right hand, two respected football guys with TV experience.

Both guys know how to put on a show. That’s why longtime ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. considers the Raiders an interesting case study.

“It’s Jon and Mike working together,” Kiper said Tuesday in a conference call. “They have the three first-round picks. They have a chance with more next year. They have an opportunity to fill a lot of holes.”

Kiper’s latest first-round mock draft has the Raiders taking Michigan defensive end Rashan Gary at No. 4 overall, Washington cornerback Byron Murphy at No. 24, and Florida State edge rusher Brian Burns at No. 27.

That’s if the Raiders play it straight and use selections earned with a bad 2018 record, along with the Khalil Mack and Amari Cooper trades. That’s if the Raiders focus on defensive issues that could help the 2019 product more than anything else.

They could, however, ignore convention and be bold. That’s why Kiper puts the Raiders in the mix to trade for a mercurial veteran receiver or possibly draft a height-challenged quarterback with Derek Carr’s hefty paychecks still on the payroll.

[RELATED: Joe Flacco trade to Broncos could impact Raiders in 2019 NFL Draft]

“They have decisions to make, including with the Antonio Brown situation in Pittsburgh and them needing a receiver,” Kiper said. “They have the draft picks. Do they try and make a move there? Do they take (Oklahoma quarterback) Kyler Murray? Do they move Derek Carr or stick with him?

"Jon was always raving about quarterbacks like Patrick Mahomes and Russell Wilson and the like. What’s his opinion of Kyler Murray in relation to Derek Carr? You talk about a fascinating player, and that’s Kyler Murray. You talk about the most fascinating team in this draft, for obvious reasons, it’s the Oakland Raiders.”