Raiders

Raiders owner Mark Davis thrilled Oakland Coliseum lease was approved

Raiders owner Mark Davis thrilled Oakland Coliseum lease was approved

PHOENIX – The Raiders will spend one more season in Oakland, the final stretch of a prolonged transition from the East Bay to Las Vegas.

It will happen at the Oakland Coliseum, after NFL owners unanimously approved a new lease agreement on Monday at the annual league meeting. It was the last of four approval votes to validate a pact to play 2019 in Oakland.

It brought owner Mark Davis great relief, which was written on his face while speaking with NBC Sports Bay Area in the Arizona Biltmore hotel’s main lobby.

“I won’t work out a stadium lease again in my lifetime,” Davis said with a smile.

His search for a place to play 2019 has been stressful. The Raiders abandoned negotiations with the Oakland Coliseum in December 2018, after Oakland sued the Raiders and the NFL for antitrust violations and breach of contract.

That sent the Raiders searching outside the market, into negotiations with the San Francisco Giants to play at Oracle Park and the undesirable Levi’s Stadium option. They all proved fruitless, sending the Raiders back to work out a deal with the Oakland Coliseum.

Now the Oakland Coliseum deal is done, including a 2020 option to account for unforeseen Las Vegas stadium delays. In short, there’s the clear path to Las Vegas.

Davis is happy to have a place to play until the Raiders debut in the Silver State.

“I think (Raiders president Marc Badain and Raiders general counsel Dan Ventrelle), with both hands tied behind their back, did a really admirable job working with the city (of Oakland) and getting a deal done under tough circumstances,” Davis said. “We’re ready to go.”

Despite pulling his Raiders up and leaving for Las Vegas, Davis still holds affection for the Raiders’ Bay Area fan base, and hopes to honor the team’s past before starting a new chapter in franchise history.

“The main thing here is that we get to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the AFL and the Raiders in the Bay Area, which I was hoping to do all along,” Davis said. “That’s going to be exciting.”

While he’ll look back on his team’s tradition in 2019, Davis is focused on the future and a rapidly progressing stadium in Las Vegas.

“I go by it and water it,” Davis said with a smile. “Then I come back a couple weeks later and it grows.”

[RELATED: Carr's status unchanged with Raiders]

While there have been minor delays, the new venue opening just off the Las Vegas Strip should be ready to host games in Aug. 2020. A state-of-the-art training facility is being built in nearby Henderson, Nevada, and that could be ready around June 2020.

Until then, however, the Raiders have a place to play in Oakland as this long transition comes to a close.

What Mike Mayock's past NFL draft rankings can tell us about Raiders

mayockrealusatsi.jpg
USATSI

What Mike Mayock's past NFL draft rankings can tell us about Raiders

Before joining the Raiders as their general manager back in December, Mike Mayock made his NFL draft priorities clear as an analyst.

He ranked prospects for a decade at NFL Media, becoming a go-to-voice as all eyes in football fixed on the draft every spring. That history could provide some insight into Mayock's plans with the Raiders' top selection, as NFL Media's Ali Bhanpuri observed Friday.

In Mayock's last six rankings of the top 100 draft prospects, defensive ends ranked No. 3 overall on average. Defensive tackles, by contrast ranked No. 7 overall, but defensive linemen were "consistently" at the top of Mayock's big board in each of the last six draft classes he evaluated for NFL Media, according to Bhanpuri.

If there's any draft where that figures to still be the case, it's this one. Top-rated edge rushers Nick Bosa and Josh Allen each met with the Raiders, and so did defensive tackle Quinnen Williams. If the Arizona Cardinals take quarterback Kyler Murray -- which no longer seems like an inevitability -- then the Silver and Black should be able to select one of those three. That's especially true if the New York Jets are able to trade out of the No. 3 spot, which sources told SNY's Ralph Vacchiano is New York's ideal plan, and a team wanting to select a QB moves into New York's place. 

[RELATED: Five players Raiders could target on Day 2 of NFL draft]

As for the Raiders and their reported interest in Kyler Murray, Mayock's history indicates he really would have to be enamored with the signal-caller in order to trade up. In the last six years, Mayock's top five prospects twice included a QB: Marcus Mariota at No. 5 overall in 2015, and Carson Wentz at No. 1 on his big board in 2016. With that in mind, it's difficult to envision the Raiders giving up the draft capital necessary to select Murray if they truly see Derek Carr as their franchise quarterback.

There's much more smoke than fire at this time of year, making predicting what will happen in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft on Thursday almost as fruitless as predicting at the end of "Avengers: Endgame" when it's released Friday. But Mayock has plenty of recent history to serve as predictive precedent, and the Raiders' first pick Thursday ultimately will show insightful it was.

NFL rumors: Jets 'determined' to trade down from No. 3 pick in draft

NFL rumors: Jets 'determined' to trade down from No. 3 pick in draft

The 2019 NFL Draft is just days away. Between now and Thursday, plenty of things can change, but there reportedly could be a shaker in the draft sitting between the 49ers and the Raiders.

Sources told SNY's Ralph Vacchiano that the Jets are "determined" to trade down from the No. 3 overall pick in the draft. 

"They seem to really, really want to move down," one NFL executive said to Vacchiano. "Maybe they're just keeping their options open, but it sure seems like that No. 3 pick is for sale."

This could affect the 49ers and Raiders in opposite ways.

The 49ers can use this information to their advantage. If they decide to move down and add more draft assets, their price for the No. 2 pick has increased. In the case that quarterback-needy teams want to move up, 49ers general manager John Lynch can pick up the phone and start demanding a megadeal for his top pick.

For the Raiders, however, this could be bad news. 

Raiders GM Mike Mayock has been very protective of his big board and how he sees this draft playing out. But now a team possibly could jump Oakland for the exact prospect the Silver and Black want. 

One recent mock draft even has the Raiders trading with the 49ers to get the No. 2 pick and draft ... quarterback Drew Lock. Hey, crazier things have happened.

[RELATED: Five players the Raiders could target at No. 35 on Day 2]

Perhaps more than any other team, however, the Raiders have the greatest package to offer, with three first-round picks to move up and select exactly who they want.

Phones will ring on draft day, and the order is sure to change in one way or another.