The Raiders were a focal point of Wednesday's events at the NFL winter owners meetings in Dallas.
The 2020 NFL Draft was awarded to Las Vegas in the team’s first year there. The Raiders also were attached to a strengthened Rooney Rule after many questioned whether the team ignored the spirit (and letter) of that law when hiring coach Jon Gruden last winter.
But the most pressing concern for the Raiders and their fans is where the team will play in 2019. The Raiders' lease with the Oakland Coliseum expires after this season, and a federal antitrust and breach-of-contract lawsuit levied Tuesday by the City of Oakland puts the team’s plans for next year up in the air.
“We do not have any answer on where we’re going to play next year,” team president Marc Badain told reporters Wednesday, via Pro Football Talk. “We made an offer of $7.5 million in rent to the city, and that’s now off the table. We have a number of options, and when we have an answer we’ll share it with you.”
The Raiders don’t have forever to decide. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said in a press conference that NFL schedulers would need to know where the Raiders will call their 2019 home in “early January, February.”
The Raiders always have preferred to remain in Oakland until their new Las Vegas stadium is scheduled to open in 2020, but they're starting to look into contingency plans once this lawsuit was approved by Oakland’s city council in early September.
Owner Mark Davis also spoke at the NFL meetings in Dallas, and said, “all options are open,” to where the Raiders will play in 2019. He was specifically asked about San Diego, Levi’s Stadium and other locales including in Nevada -- he doesn’t love San Antonio’s Alamodome turf -- and wouldn’t eliminate any on spec.
Davis wouldn’t even shut the door on Oakland despite pulling the latest Coliseum lease offer off the table.
“Emotionally, I don’t want to pay for my own lawsuit,” Davis said. “But, for the fans, that’s something I’ve got to think about.”