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The team has been looking for a new stadium for years as it seeks to move out of the outdated Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, which is the only stadium used by both an NFL and Major League Baseball team and is unable to generate the revenue for the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

Michigan coach calls star pupil perfect for Raiders, 'a disruptive, attacking force inside'

hurst-ap.jpg
AP

Michigan coach calls star pupil perfect for Raiders, 'a disruptive, attacking force inside'

The University of Michigan football team is in a quiet period between spring practice and fall camp, but Greg Mattison is hot on the recruiting trail. The University of Michigan’s defensive line coach is crisscrossing the country trying to secure quality Wolverines, without much time for anything else.

Squeezing in an interview request during a brief stretch home in Ann Arbor, Mich., wasn’t easy. Mattison, I was told, would get to it during a free moment over a few days.

The respected defensive coach called within the hour.

“I am pretty busy these days, but after I saw (the interview request), I wanted be sure and talk to you,” Mattison said. “Anything for Mo.”

‘Mo’ is defensive tackle Maurice Hurst, Mattison’s star pupil and a Raiders fifth-round pick. The bond is strong between player and position coach. Mattison recruited Hurst out of Xaverian Brothers High in Westwood, Mass., and spent five subsequent years developing him into an NFL-caliber player.

Mattison gave a glowing review of his time working with Hurst during an interview with NBC Sports Bay Area, as you’d expect from a college coach talking about a former player.

College coaches don’t publicly criticize their guys. But, if they don’t have anything nice to say, they don’t say anything at all.

Mattison called back in a snap.

“I recruited him and coached him for five years, so I probably know Mo Hurst as well as anybody around,” said Mattison, a longtime college coach who was Baltimore Ravens defensive coordinator from 2009-10. “He comes from a tremendous family, and his mother is as good a person as you’ll meet and did a tremendous job raising him. Mo has all the work habits and character you want in a player. He’s one of those guys, where I’ve never seen him do something that wasn’t the right thing to do.”

Mattison has great affection for Hurst, which is why the NFL Draft was so tough to watch. Hurst is a first-round talent, arguably the draft’s best interior pass rusher, yet fell to the fifth due to concerns about an irregular EKG.

The University of Michigan cleared him to play despite a heart condition. The Raiders didn’t have a problem with it either, and drafted Hurst with the No. 140 overall selection. The draft slide was a disappointment for all involved.

“He has a lot of pride,” Mattison said. “You watch the draft and so many times I said, ‘Mo’s way better that the kid they just took.’ You know why it was happening, because of this test or whatever. The thing we all knew was that he was fine. It was the same thing when he came to Michigan. He was fine.”

The Raiders believe he is fine to play in 2018, and will have annual checkups to ensure that remains the case each season. Head coach Jon Gruden wants Hurst to be judged on the field -- he won’t discuss Hurst’s health any farther – and the Wolverine has a real chance to make an immediate impact as a three-technique in Paul Guenther’s defensive system.

“He fits perfectly in a scheme like that,” Mattison said. “The Raiders got the greatest steal in the world. He’s a perfect fit, and to get Mo when they did is quite something. What you always want in that type of defense is a disruptive, attacking force inside. I’ll put Mo up against anybody in his ability to do that.”

Hurst is an excellent pass rusher and solid run defender, perfectly capable of being a three-down standout. A lot of that is due to an explosive first step that’s as fast and impactful as any.

“He’s born with that,” Mattison said. “We certainly tried to improve it, but he has always had that great first step. Him doing that and playing low and strong, that’s what makes him special.”

Mattison also lauded Hurst’s football IQ and his willingness to study offensive tendencies, saying “he was really good identifying things on the field and using them to his advantage.”

Mattison believes the five years spent at Michigan gave him the maturity and toughness to excel at the NFL level. It allowed Hurst to earn his bachelor’s degree and start work on his master’s degree. Seeing Hurst move on after accomplishing so much gives Mattison a great sense of gratification.

“That’s why you coach, and that’s why I left the NFL to come back to college football,” Mattison said. “The pride you take in getting a young man to come to your school and watching him develop is immense. I have two goals with my guys. I want them to get a degree, and to play in the NFL. If they do that, then I’ve done my job and I’m the happiest guy in the world. Mo’s a perfect example of that.”

Raiders lock up first-round draft pick

Raiders lock up first-round draft pick

The NFL rookie wage scale makes signing draft picks much easier. Long gone are days of protracted holdouts, especially among first-round selections. Each pick is paid within a tight range based on his draft slot, leaving little room to haggle.

That’s why there was no shock seeing Kolton Miller put pen to paper on Friday morning, when the No. 15 overall selection signed his rookie deal. The Raiders formally announced the four-year deal, which includes a fifth-year team option included in all deals with first-round picks.

Sports salary site spotrac.com estimates that Miller’s deal will be worth $13.583 million over four years, with an $8.074 million signing bonus and a $2.498 million 2018 salary cap hit.

If the Raiders choose to exercise Miller’s fifth-year option for the 2022 season, his base salary will be based on the average of the No. 3-25 highest salaries at his position.

Miller played both left tackle and right tackle at UCLA, but the Raiders see him as a long-term solution on the blind side. He’s training there during the offseason program – that could change – and working with respected offensive line coach Tom Cable, who had say in his draft selection.

“We think he’s a prototype left tackle,” Raiders head coach Jon Grduen said earlier this month. “He can bend, he’s got the length that you’re looking for and he’s a sharp kid. He’s still young though.”

Miller is a quality athlete at 6-foot-9, 309 pounds, someone who needs seasoning but could prove a quality NFL lineman. The Roseville native was the first of two offensive tackles taken in this draft. Brandon Parker was a third-round selection and could play right tackle right away.

Miller becomes the sixth member of the 2018 Raiders draft class to sign his rookie contract.