Raiders

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.

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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.

Raiders inform NFL draft prospect of parking-ticket history at combine

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USATSI

Raiders inform NFL draft prospect of parking-ticket history at combine

NFL Scouting Combine interviews can be harsh, inappropriate and even downright weird. Ross Blacklock's interview with the Las Vegas Raiders this week in Indianapolis was revelatory. 

The TCU defensive tackle told reporters Thursday that the Raiders informed him he had 37 parking tickets he didn't know about during his time in Fort Worth. 

Blacklock offered a compelling reason for his lack of knowledge on the subject: He claimed the TCU athletic department handled each ticket on his behalf.

"I don't know how they get that," Blacklock shrugged. 

Thirty-seven of anything is a stunning number, let alone when you're counting parking citations. It clearly took the Mike Mayock-led Raiders brain trust aback enough to prompt them to bring it up in an interview, one of 45 they're allowed to conduct during the week in Indianapolis. Those interviews are limited to 18 minutes, so you wonder what question(s) didn't make the cut if Blacklock's ticket history did.

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Those citations made the Raiders scratch their heads, as you might find yourself doing, too. Alas, it's difficult to envision Blacklock's previous fines dampening teams' enthusiasm for the 6-foot-3, 290-pound defensive lineman. NFL Media's Daniel Jeremiah ranked Blacklock No. 19 in his Top 50 and The Ringer's Danny Kelly slotted Blacklock at No. 38. The prospect didn't crack the first round of NBC Sports Bay Area's latest mock draft, but Blacklock likely won't have to wait longer than a day to hear his name called at the NFL draft in Vegas this April. 

Blacklock has talent, but the Raiders simply have bigger needs than along the interior of their defensive line to draft the former Horned Frog with one of two first-round picks. If the Silver and Black passes on the D-lineman, it won't be because of the parking tickets. 

NFL Draft 2020: Raiders should target these six players on Day 2

NFL Draft 2020: Raiders should target these six players on Day 2

All the talk surrounding the Raiders' 2020 NFL Draft plan revolves around their two first-round picks.

With picks No. 12 and No. 19, how will the Raiders build on the success of last year's draft class? Will they trade up for a quarterback? Take the best receiver available and whatever linebacker is left? Do what is necessary to put Isaiah Simmons in silver and black?

The questions are endless. But the Raiders' draft class truly will come together on Day 2 of the draft, when they have three third-round picks. That's enough ammo to move up into Round 2 or select three players who can contribute immediately to the up-and-coming Raiders. Yes, they could take a flier on Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm or try and develop the enticing talent that is Jalen Hurts, but they have many needs outside of quarterback. 

With the Raiders getting a good look at the best the draft has to offer this week at the NFL Scouting Combine, let's look at six Day 2 prospects for the Raiders to target.

Marlon Davidson, DE, Auburn

Davidson is fast rising so he likely will be gone by the time the Raiders go on the clock in Round 3.

The 6-foot-3, 303-pound defensive end has an impressive array of skills that most NFL teams would love to have on their roster. He has heavy hands and a quick first step. He played outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme on The Plains but might be better suited for an interior role at the next level.

He's a high upside guy who has the ability to help the Raiders in one of their biggest areas of need.


K.J. Hill, WR, Ohio State

The Raiders need more than one wide receiver. While they likely will land one of CeeDee Lamb, Jerry Jeudy or Henry Ruggs, the Silver and Black need more weapons for whoever the quarterback is.

This is a deep and talented wide receiver class, so the Raiders could go a number of ways.

I'll highlight Hill because he's a great route-runner with solid hands. He had a down senior season but was an explosive weapon for Dwayne Haskins two years ago.

He'd be a great addition as Gruden looks to build a more dynamic offense.


Troy Dye, LB. Oregon

We all know the Raiders need linebacker help. Whether they trade up to draft Simmons, take Patrick Queen or Kenneth Murray or avoid going linebacker in Round 1, they need to build depth at the position. 

Dye was a four-year starter at Oregon, whose leadership helped keep the program from nosediving. 

He's an athletic, rangy linebacker with the explosiveness to be an impact NFL starter. He needs to work on his play processing and taking better angles in space.

Kenny Willekes, EDGE, Michigan State

The Spartan defensive end has an extremely high floor. He's a very competitive guy with a high motor who would thrive under Gruden.

Willekes has a variety of pass-rush moves and is a stout run defender. 

He racked up 47.5 tackles for loss and 22 sacks during his career at Michigan State and would be a solid addition to the Raiders' defensive end rotation. 


James Proche, WR, SMU

Proche is a name that you don't hear a lot in this loaded class, but he could be the steal of the draft.

At 5-foot-10, the SMU slot receiver has big hands for his size (9 5/8). Those hands were golden during his time at SMU as Proche basically caught anything thrown in his zip code. He has no problem snagging balls at high velocity with one a hand or in the air or off balance.

He's not the fastest or strongest receiver, but he's a guy who could be a valuable weapon in a four-wide set.

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Davon Hamilton, DT, Ohio State

Hamilton is 6-foot-4 and 310 pounds. The Raiders are in need of a big body who can disrupt offenses up the middle.

He's an outstanding run defender and found success against constant double teams while at Ohio State.

His pass-rush skill needs some polishing, but you can't teach size or power. Hamilton has both and the quickness to boot.