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San Diego scrambles to save the Chargers

Denver Broncos v San Diego Chargers

SAN DIEGO, CA - OCTOBER 13: San Diego Chargers fans react during the first half of a game against the Denver Broncos at Qualcomm Stadium on October 13, 2016 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

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The 4-D game of chess continues between and among San Diego, Oakland, Los Angeles, and Las Vegas.

With the Chargers running out of days to exercise their absolute option to move to L.A. with the Rams, San Diego is showing unprecedented urgency to keep the Chargers from leaving.

Via Bernie Wilson of the San Diego Union-Tribune, four city council members want to offer the Chargers a 99-year, $1-annual lease at Qualcomm Stadium. That would keep the team in town under very team-friendly terms while efforts continue toward building a new stadium.

As noted by Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune, the NFL separately has been trying to come up with ideas for keeping the Chargers from leaving for L.A. This meshes with the notion, as PFT has heard in recent weeks, that Commissioner Roger Goodell is “fixated” on keeping the Chargers in San Diego.

The problem for the Chargers is that staying put for now would likely mean losing permanently the chance to move to Inglewood with the Rams. As it currently stands, the Raiders acquire as of January 16 the current rights the Chargers hold to partner up with Stan Kroenke. If the Chargers don’t move, and if the Raiders realize once the chance slides to them that it makes more sense to return to L.A. than to go to Las Vegas or to stay in Oakland, the Chargers will have two competing franchises in their backyard.

The most obvious potential options for keeping the team in San Diego include having Kroenke purchase the exclusive rights to L.A. by giving the league and the Chargers a large check to assist with the construction of a San Diego stadium (that’s not considered to be viable, given the amount that would be needed) or extending the team’s window to move to L.A. in order to allow a new stadium vote to be conducted in 2018, the next election cycle with a strong turnout expected.

For now, the signs continue to point to an L.A. move. Daniel Kaplan of SportsBusiness Daily reports that the Chargers will ask the league for a waiver of the team’s debt limit, so that it can borrow half of the $650 million relocation fee that will arise if the team abandons San Diego for Los Angeles.

However things turn out, Wednesday’s league meeting in Dallas could be a day when the Chargers, Raiders, and other owners begin to put their cards on the table. With the clock ticking on the Chargers’ ability to move to L.A. and the Raiders’ practical ability to take advantage of $750 million in free Nevada money, it’s getting closer and closer to proverbial nut-cutting time.