There’s an agreement in place for the Raiders to play the 2019 season at Oakland Coliseum. The team has been working on one for weeks with the Coliseum Authority, and we’re finally ready for an approval vote.
The Coliseum Authority board will meet on Friday and vote on the lease agreement, which also includes an option for 2020 and the resolution of a parking revenue dispute between the sides.
Major terms have been agreed upon for some time, before the Raiders abandoned negotiations following Oakland’s lawsuit against them alleging antitrust violations and breach of contract. That gave sides a head start, but details and last minute changes had to be hammered out before reaching this final stage. The goal was to present an agreement easily approved by the board.
There’s no drama expected in Friday’s vote, which should result in approval from the Authority board.
The Oakland City Council and the Alameda County Board of Supervisors must also approve the deal, but those bodies have been informed of the agreement’s details and should approve the deal without resistance.
NFL owners must also vote on the matter, though that approval’s considered a slam dunk. That should happen during the league’s owners meetings in late March.
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The Raiders have been looking for a place to play 2019 for some time. They explored options inside and outside the Bay Area market after Oakland’s lawsuit was filed in December, and really pushed to play at Oracle Park in San Francisco. They ended up back at the table to play at Oakland Coliseum, the most logical place to call home in the last year before a scheduled move to Las Vegas.
Timing sometimes being everything in life, it was almost too perfect that Nick Kwiatkoski finally got his chance to start on a consistent basis over the last seven games of last season.
Circumstance had previously blocked that possibility. A talented young linebacker with sideline-to-sideline and three-down play capability, Kwiatkoski was the victim of an extraordinarily talented Chicago Bears defensive roster that was particularly strong at linebacker.
On many other teams, he would have been a starter. In Chicago, he was a reserve.
But then came the opportunity for consistent playing time when Danny Trevathan went down with an injury in November. Kwiatkoski was inserted into the lineup. And with free agency pending and his long-range prospects uncertain, it was finally his time to show he could be counted on as a full-time starter.
Two notable Raiders additions in the offseason, tight end Jason Witten and linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski, met with the media via a Zoom call Monday.
Here are five takeaways on what was said.
1. One major reason the Raiders brought in Witten, who became one of the NFL’s top tight ends over 16 seasons with the Dallas Cowboys, was for his veteran leadership. Coach Jon Gruden even asked Witten to speak to the team a few days ago about the importance of high character.
“It’s vital,” Witten said. “This league’s too hard regardless of how talented you are, and I shared this with the guys. … The margin for error is so small in this league that’s how you have to approach it. I was blown away by the skill set. You can see it. I’ve also seen the guys love football. They work hard. They’re accountable.”