Mark Davis: If Vegas delivers, 'we'll be the Las Vegas Raiders'


Mark Davis: If Vegas delivers, 'we'll be the Las Vegas Raiders'

UPDATE (12pm on Thursday, April 28) -- The Raiders issued the following statement:

"The Raiders would like to thank the Southern Nevada Tourism Infrastructure Committee and Mayor Goodman for their time today as we continue to explore options for a permanent stadium solution. We appreciate the support and passion of Raiders fans everywhere."


Raiders owner Mark Davis delivered some big news on Thursday. He stepped to the podium and said, “I’m excited to announce here today the 14th pick in the NFL Draft…”

Davis didn’t finish that sentence. It was far too early to know whom the Raiders would make their first-round pick. Plus, he was in the wrong state.

[BAIR: Raiders' draft slot makes Reggie McKenzie's job 'harder']

Davis attended the Southern Nevada Tourism and Infrastructure Committee meeting in Las Vegas, and made a pledge that could impact the organization far more than any single draft pick.

Davis promised to work on relocating the Raiders to a $1.3 billion domed stadium proposal near the Las Vegas Strip if formally approved by the Nevada state legislature, and he backed it up with cash. Davis said Thursday morning that the Raiders would commit $500 million to the project, which also received support from MLS owner and soccer icon David Beckham.

The Raiders’ $500 million was the same originally offered to build an Oakland stadium, a figure that includes a $200 million loan from the NFL’s G4 program.

“Together we can turn the Silver State into the Silver-and-Black State,” Davis said at the SNTIC meeting.

Davis said this commitment was not just a leverage ploy.

“This is not a bargaining chip,” Davis said in a press conference. “…This is real.”

The proposed Las Vegas stadium is backed by some powerful folks. Las Vegas Sands Corp. is pushing this project in partnership with Ed Roski’s Majestic Realty. Roski long tried to build a Los Angeles NFL stadium in the City of Industry.

A total of $650 million would come from private sources, with the rest from the public via $50 million annual blocks from taxes on tourists.

The Las Vegas stadium proposal could house the Raiders, the UNLV football team, concerts and other large sporting events.

Davis’ backing is key to the stadium’s viability.

"We have made a commitment to Las Vegas and that's where it stands,” Davis said, via ESPN. “If Las Vegas can come through ... we'll be the Las Vegas Raiders."

Las Vegas is the country’s No. 41 media market with a local fan base far smaller than the Bay Area. Las Vegas is a tourist hub drawing outsiders to town with legalized gambling and lavish resorts. Raiders fans are a transient group, and Davis’ hope is that fans follow the team to a possible new locale.

“Las Vegas would not just be getting a football team,” Davis said. “They would be getting everyone who has worn the silver and black for the last 56 years.”

The SNTIC cannot approve a stadium project. It can be expected to make a recommendation to the state legislature. The Nevada State Legislature isn't scheduled to meet until Feb. 2017, though stadium proponents said Thursday they hoped to arrange a special August meeting vote on public funding for this project. 

A new Raiders locale requires approval from 24 NFL owners. Any relocation must be validated with a three-quarters approval vote of the membership, something that isn’t guaranteed given the league’s aversion to direct association with legalized gambling. Las Vegas hasn’t been considered a viable market for that reason, though there is some sentiment among owners willing to look past the gambling connection.

“I wouldn’t phrase it by saying there won’t be any problems,” Davis said in a press conference. “I would say that we would make them an offer they can’t refuse.”

Davis has been looking for a long-term stadium solution for year. He partnered with the Chargers on a stadium proposal in the Los Angeles suburb of Carson, but lost out to the Rams’ Inglewood project.

The Raiders have an opportunity to join the Rams in Inglewood if the Chargers, who have higher L.A. priority, decided to stay in San Diego.

Davis seems to prefer the Las Vegas market and greater control on stadium design – he values ingress, egress and a quality tailgating environment -- and outside revenue.

The Raiders signed a one-year lease extension with Oakland-Alameda Coliseum for 2016, with two one-year lease extensions built in. There has been little to no progress trying to build a new facility in the East Bay. Team and public officials seem stuck over the cost of land on the Coliseum site and where the MLB’s Oakland Athletics fit into a new development. The A’s also play at the Oakland Coliseum.

UNLV’s Sam Boyd Stadium is not a viable interim NFL stadium site, so the team could remain in Oakland under their recently approved lease extension options while a new Las Vegas Stadium is built. Davis did say the Raiders would play an exhibition game at Sam Boyd Stadium during that time.

Mel Kiper NFL mock draft 2020: Raiders pick two Oklahoma prospects


Mel Kiper NFL mock draft 2020: Raiders pick two Oklahoma prospects

For the second consecutive season, the Oakland Las Vegas Raiders will have multiple first-round selections in the upcoming 2020 NFL Draft, happening right in the team’s new backyard along the famous Strip.

After a strong start, the Raiders faded in the second half of the 2019 season, finishing with a dismal 7-9 record. Where will general manager Mike Mayock allocate his precious draft picks come April?

ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. released his first mock draft on Friday and has the Raiders addressing both sides of the ball in the first round.

No. 12: CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma

As arguably the top receiver in this year’s draft class, this would be an absolute steal. Antonio Brown and Tyrell Williams were expected to form a dynamic receiving duo for the Raiders in 2019, but Brown’s brief and bizarre tenure combined with Williams’ injury struggles left the team with few consistent targets on the outside.

Lamb is a big-time playmaker with great hands who will step in, catch a bunch of passes and score touchdowns.

Whether the Raiders have Derek Carr or another veteran quarterback under center next season, Lamb would provide an immediate No. 1 option to bring some much-needed balance to coach Jon Gruden’s offense.

After a dominant, three-touchdown performance against Texas, Lamb even shouted out a Raiders legend with his postgame fit.

[RELATED: Raiders should pay attention to these 10 Senior Bowl stars]

No. 19: Kenneth Murray, LB, Oklahoma

With one of the picks from the bounty acquired in the Khalil Mack trade with the Chicago Bears, Kiper has Las Vegas shoring up its linebacking corps with another Sooner.

Murray is a chiseled, gifted talent with great athleticism for his size (6-foot-2, 240). He needs to improve in coverage, but he has the speed to match tight ends in space and is so fun to watch on tape as a tackler and penetrator.

With five linebackers set to hit free agency, this is a major position of need for the Raiders. Murray had 102 tackles and four sacks for Oklahoma in his final collegiate season.

2020 Senior Bowl: Ten risers who Raiders should target in NFL draft

2020 Senior Bowl: Ten risers who Raiders should target in NFL draft

Like 27 other teams, some members of the Raiders have spent the week in Mobile trying to get a feel for a talented crop of NFL draft prospects at the Reese's Senior Bowl.

The Senior Bowl was vital to the Raiders' draft success last year, and there are a number of participants this year who can help the Raiders fill their litany of holes.

With three days of practice in the books, a handful of prospects stood out from the rest and it's a group the Raiders should have high on their draft board come April.

Here are 10 risers from the week of practice.

Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon

I've written extensively about Herbert and why I believe he should be the Raiders quarterback of the future if Jon Gruden wishes to move on from Derek Carr.

Herbert has all the physical tools. He's mobile and has a rocket arm, but was inconsistent at Oregon, but showed scouts exactly what they wanted to see in Mobile.

He was accurate and on time in 1-on-1s, 7-on-7s and 11-on-11s, being named the Practice Player of the Week. NFL scouts have questions about his leadership which he can help put to rest Saturday by commanding the huddle in the game. 

Van Jefferson, WR, Florida

In a talented group of wide receivers, Jefferson stood at the top of the class.

The 6-foot-2, 196-pound receiver is a polished route-runner with good hands and burst off the line. 

He made a number of impressive catches and showed good footwork throughout the week.

Jason Strowbridge, DL, North Carolina

He entered the week as a Day 3 guy, but Strowbridge might have moved up to Day 2 with his showing in Mobile. 

The North Carolina product showed great quickness and hand usage during drills. He can play inside and outside and could be a nice addition to the Raiders' pass rush rotation. 

K.J. Hill, WR, Ohio State

I mentioned Hill earlier in the week as a guy the Raiders should target, and he didn't disappoint.

The Ohio State product had a down senior season but he's a good route-runner who creates separation well and has great hands. He'd fit nicely as Gruden looks to "let it fly" more.

Troy Pride Jr., CB, Notre Dame

Pride came into the week needing to impress after a subpar final season in South Bend.

The 5-foot-11 cornerback locked down everyone that went against him this week. He has incredible speed and should be a Day 2 pick.

Denzel Mims, WR, Baylor

Have I mentioned this wide receiver class is deep? It's silly.

The Baylor product caught just about everything in his zip code this week. He high-pointed the ball well, was quick out of his breaks and showed impressive catch radius.

For a team that needs at least three receivers, the Raiders have to be loving this draft.

Malik Harrison, LB, Ohio State

Harrison is more of a run-stopping linebacker, but he showed he can cover as well this week.

He was constantly around the ball and made plays like this:

If the Raiders don't go LB with one of their first-round picks, Harrison is a guy they should grab on Day 2.

Adam Trautman, TE, Dayton

Yes, I know the Raiders already have Darren Waller, who is a budding star and Foster Moreau was a touchdown magnet during his rookie season.

But in the offensive age of football where the more weapons you have the better, Trautman is an intriguing piece.

He's 6-foot-5 and fit right in with Division I talent despite being from an FCS program, showing great skill as both a receiver and a blocker.

Davon Hamilton, DL, Ohio State

A fringe Day 2 prospect entering the week, Hamilton showed great power and quickness against his peers. He showed some secondary moves and was able to re-establish the line of scrimmage.

Certainly, a guy who could help the Raiders upfront.

[RELATED: Raiders should follow NFL draft blueprint, raid LSU-Clemson]

Kyle Dugger, S, Lenoir-Rhyne

I've done so much talking about the versatility of Clemson star Isaiah Simmons that it would be negligent for me not to bring up Dugger to close this risers piece.

He was one of the most dominant players on the practice field in Mobile, showing good body control, footwork and play-making ability.

Dugger could have a hybrid LB/S role in the NFL much like Simmons, and would be a big help to a Raiders defense that is lacking play makers.