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NFL owners approve Raiders' stadium lease with Oakland Coliseum

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NFL owners approve Raiders' stadium lease with Oakland Coliseum

PHOENIX – The NFL formally voted to approve the Raiders' lease agreement at the Oakland Coliseum without resistance at the league owners meetings on Monday.

The Raiders have been virtually locked in to play the 2019 season at Oakland Coliseum for some time. The Oakland Coliseum Authority board approved the one-year lease agreement, which contains a 2020 option, on March 15.

Procedurally, a few more steps remained.

The Alameda County Board of Supervisors gave their expected stamp of approval on March 19. The Oakland City Council did the same Thursday. Both votes were unanimous, a predictable turn considering the Coliseum Authority was acting essentially on behalf of those governing bodies, with representatives from each entity.

Those approvals essentially set the Raiders stadium situation prior to their move to Las Vegas in 2020, but the NFL still had to weigh in. That happened Monday at the NFL owners meeting, when the lease agreement was unanimously approved by each member club. 

"It was unanimous," Raiders owner Mark Davis said. "There was almost one abstention."

That last part was a reference to late Raiders owner Al Davis' penchant for abstaning from league votes. The Raiders were voting yes to this lease agreement along with the rest of the league. It's the final hurdle while transitioning to Las Vegas in 2020, when their new stadium and training facility are scheduled to open. Save unforeseen delays, the Raiders have a clear path to Las Vegas. 

Now, the Raiders' prolonged search for a 2019 home, one that sent the Raiders searching outside the market, is finally complete. They looked far and wide for one after Oakland sued the Raiders and the NFL over alleged antitrust violations and breach of contract. The team has filed a motion to dismiss the suit.

Owner Mark Davis didn’t want to play in a city that was suing him – the Raiders at one point abandoned active lease negotiations with the Coliseum Authority -- but struggles to find a proper home proved difficult. The 49ers wouldn’t waive territorial rights to allow a pact formed with the San Francisco Giants to play at Oracle Park.

The Raiders also spoke with the 49ers about playing at Levi’s Stadium, but that was essentially a non-starter considering Davis’ aversion to the Santa Clara venue.

The Silver and Black ended up back at the table with the Coliseum authority, using the same lease terms available before Oakland’s lawsuit was levied.

What followed was a weird story to cover, with far too many incremental updates on a now-finalized lease agreement with concerning hurdles.

[RELATED: Why AB's agent hopes trade sets precedent for NFL players]

Now, the Raiders are set up to transition easily to Las Vegas in 2020 if their new stadium is completed on schedule as expected. The Raiders will pay $7.5 million in rent for nine games this season, a sum that will drop if the Raiders play a preseason game in Canada as previously reported. They would owe $10.5 million if they exercised a 2020 option. The Raiders, however, should be in Las Vegas by then.

The stadium being built just off the Las Vegas Strip has incurred minor delays, but nothing that should divert from its scheduled opening in the 2020 preseason.

Mike Mayock's thought on Raiders' last three first-round draft picks

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Mike Mayock's thought on Raiders' last three first-round draft picks

Mike Mayock is one of the most respected minds in the NFL Draft community.

When he was a draft analyst for NFL Network, his word was gospel. Now, the Raiders get to benefit from his wisdom.

So, what did Mayock think of the Raiders last three first-round drafts? We're glad you asked.

In 2016, the Raiders selected West Virginia safety Karl Joseph with the No. 14 overall pick. He struggled during his first two seasons, but 2018 was seen as a breakout campaign for the 25-year-old.

Here's what Mayock wrote about Joseph when the 2016 NFL draft had concluded:

"With his range, toughness and ability to drop down in the slot and cover man, he's like a poor man's Earl Thomas. He says he models his game after Brian Dawkins. Some say he's much like Bob Sanders. This is a dynamic playmaker."

Joseph certainly hasn't lived up to the Earl Thomas comparison. Thomas is a three-time First Team All-Pro. After three seasons, Joseph isn't at that level yet.

The next year, the Raiders addressed the secondary again, picking Ohio State cornerback Gareon Conley at No. 24. It was a risky pick due to the baggage that came along with Conley. Just before the draft, he was accused of rape.

Injuries cost him most of his rookie campaign, but Conley played in 15 games in 2018, and finished with three interceptions and 37 total tackles.

At the time, Mayock focused on Conley's legal troubles when he wrote this:

"You can't make that pick and be wrong because your owner is gonna hold you accountable for it if this kid ends up with any kind of jail time."

Two years later, Reggie McKenzie is out as general manager.

Last year, the Raiders wanted Mike McGlinchey at No. 10, but the 49ers snagged him at No. 9. So Oakland traded the No. 10 pick to Arizona No. 15 and two later picks. They used the No. 15 pick to select UCLA offensive lineman Kolton Miller.

Miller had his ups and downs during the 2018 season. At one point late in the season, he was leading the league in sacks allowed. But big things are still expected from him, and some pressure will taken off Miller with the addition of high-priced free agent Trent Brown.

Here's what Mayock wrote about Miller at this time last year.

"They get the No. 2 offensive tackle in this draft to put behind Donald Penn, the incumbent left tackle. He can start on the right side. He only answered the bell 23 times in three years. Durability is a concern."

[RELATED: Mock draft has Raiders trading up for a QB]

Miller erased any concern about his durability by starting all 16 games as a rookie.

Now, instead of critiquing the Raiders draft class, Mayock is in charge picking the players others will critique.

NFL.com mock draft has Raiders trading up to No. 2 for ... a quarterback

NFL.com mock draft has Raiders trading up to No. 2 for ... a quarterback

The 2019 NFL Draft is just around the corner, and we hope you've soaked in as many mocks as you can possibly handle. If not, how about a game-changing one?

NFL.com's Chad Reuter's devised a mock that had some "selections that may be off the beaten path." Basically, a mock that would shake things up -- which we love.

This included five first-round trades, one of which has the Raiders projected to move up to take ...  a quarterback.

"Projected trade with the 49ers. Jon Gruden gets his quarterback [Drew Lock] by moving up two spots," Reuter writes. "Gruden coached Lock at the Senior Bowl, and it's easy to see him appreciating the former Missouri quarterback's demeanor and physical tools. If he doesn't move up to get him, Miami or Denver could make a deal with the Jets to land the Mizzou QB."

The Raiders, as you know, have Derek Carr pegged as the starter next season, but newly hired general manager Mike Mayock mentioned that as much as they love Carr, the team is "going to do all of their due diligence." They complimented the three-time Pro-Bowler, but Mayock made it clear that at that position, and every other position if they found someone they liked better and "had bigger upside," then they would do what they need to do.

[RELATED: Raiders send scouts home over lack of trust]

It was also reported the Raiders are "super impressed" with Heisman Trophy finalist quarterback Dwayne Haskins.

All moves appear to be on the table.