Houshmandzadeh signing a high-risk, high-reward move

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Houshmandzadeh signing a high-risk, high-reward move

HueJackson likes to play fast and loose.Since the death of Al Davis, the Raidersrookie head coach has swung a pair of eyebrow-raising trades, landing linebackerAaron Curry in a low-risk, high-reward deal and quarterback Carson Palmer in afranchise-altering swap that, if it works out to the Raiders advantage, will actually cost Oakland a pair of first-round draft picks.Tuesday's signing of free-agent receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh, however, might bethe epitome of a high-risk, high-reward situation. And not becauseHoushmandzadeh is a diva, or a headcase wideout in the mold of Terrell Owens,Randy Moss or Chad Ochocinco. Because he's not. And not because Houshmandzadehinking a contract threatens the potential bounty of compensation picks theRaiders might receive in next year's draft. Even though it does.

Mostly, though, because his presence, and the manner in which Jackson pursuedHoushmandzadeh, could threaten the fragile balance and growing chemistrybetween the Raiders young receiving corps andtheir new quarterback. Especially if, as some have suggested, Palmer himselflobbied for a familiar target.The likes of Darrius Heyward-Bey, Jacoby Ford, Louis Murphy, Denarius Moore,Chaz Schilens and Derek Hagan could actually take the addition of a guy who hasnot played a down of football since January as a slight to their position groupand the work they have put in all offseason.When in fact, Murphy, Schilens or Hagan could actually face the chopping block,unless Jacksondecides to keep seven receivers.Truth is, Houshmandzadeh's resume is one the current group of pass catcherscould only dream of emulating.From 2004 through 2008, and with Palmer throwing him the ball, Houshmandzadehaveraged 89 catches, 1,012 receiving yards and seven touchdowns, including hismonster 2007 season, in which he caught an NFL-high 112 passes for 1,143 yardsand 12 TDs.Of course, the 6-foot-2, 200-pound Houshmandzadeh has a history with Jackson, too, as he was his position coach in Cincinnati from 2004through 2006. In those three seasons, Houshmandzadeh caught a combined 241passes for 3,015 yards and 20 TDs.
Reached by text message early Tuesday evening, Houshmandzadeh said he was still at the Raiders' Alameda headquarters.
"In meetings tryn 2 learn offense," Houshmandzadeh texted.
Obviously, Jackson liked what he saw inTuesday's workout and feels he can bring some of that production out of the34-year-old Houshmandzadeh, who caught only 30 balls for Baltimorelast season, is still haunted by a costly drop in a playoff loss to Pittsburgh and toldScout.com he has already had four hernia surgeries.But at what cost?Financially, he's getting a prorated part of the 10-year veteran's minimum of 910,000,which should be about 482,000 for the final nine games. Not that bad a deal,really, if Houshmandzadeh, who will wear No. 84, provides Palmer with thatsecurity blanket-type comfort he could use and the offense benefits as aresult.Logistically, though, it could be counter-productive to the development of theyoung guys. And really, isn't the role of solid, possession receiver supposedto be filled by Schilens andor Hagan?Big risk, big reward. That's just the way Jacksonrolls these days.

McKenzie: Marshawn Lynch 'already entrenched' in Raiders locker room

McKenzie: Marshawn Lynch 'already entrenched' in Raiders locker room

Marshawn Lynch took some time to agree on contract terms with the Raiders. The Oakland native formally joined the Silver and Black a day before the NFL Draft, which served as a soft deadline for his commitment to unretire and join his hometown team.

The Raiders have been pleasantly surprised by Lynch since acquiring his rights from Seattle on April 26, starting with unbridled enthusiasm upon signing his new contract.

He reported to the Raiders offseason program in tremendous shape despite being out of football in 2016, and has been a full participant in workouts he was apathetic towards in Seattle. Lynch has also fit right in to the Raiders locker room culture since joining the club.

“He has been great,” Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie said Thursday in an interview with 95.7-The Game. “He has been great in meetings. He has been great on the field. He’s going well in terms of his physical progress. He’s doing quite nicely and we think he’s going to be a great help on the field.

“Off the field, he has meshed very well with the team and is already entrenched as one of the guys. It’s going well with him.”

While it took some time to navigate a complex acquisition process, McKenzie said it went relatively smooth.

“Prior to getting him, I had no setbacks thinking he was not going to be able to get here,” McKenzie said. “My communication with Seattle and Marshawn’s people was great. Everyone indicated that he wanted to play. That’s all we needed to know. The fact he wanted to be a Raider was icing on the cake. We went through the process and got it done. He’s excited, and so are we.”

The Raiders now have a deep running back group. Lynch’s physical rushing style is the focal point of an attack that also features smaller, elusive rushers Jalen Richard and DeAndre Washington. Those guys will run behind a productive offensive line considered among the NFL’s best.

Board unanimously approves conditional lease for Raiders stadium in Vegas

Board unanimously approves conditional lease for Raiders stadium in Vegas

LAS VEGAS -- The public board that oversees the proposed stadium where the Raiders want to start playing in 2020 on Thursday unanimously approved a conditional lease agreement for the facility after months of negotiations that were affected by the sudden exit of an instrumental financial backer of the $1.9 billion project.

The Las Vegas Stadium Authority board was running up against a deadline to approve the lease to avoid delaying the team’s relocation by a year, as NFL owners gathering next week in Chicago plan to take up the document. It addresses various aspects related to the 65,000-seat stadium, including insurance, repairs, maintenance, naming rights and a rent-free provision.

“We got to the finish line in time, but we didn’t start real well, and obviously, that kind of set off some events,” board chairman Steve Hill said after the meeting. “We lost six weeks in the process, but we made up for it, the Raiders made up for it, and we are here today where we need to be.”

The six weeks were lost after casino mogul Sheldon Adelson withdrew his multimillion-dollar pledge from the project just days after the first draft of the lease agreement, which included a $1 annual rent, was unveiled in January. The billionaire’s move sent the team searching for $650 million to fill the financial gap he created.

The team ended up securing a loan from Bank of America. Guests of hotels and other lodging facilities in the Las Vegas area are contributing $750 million through a room tax increase, while the Raiders and the NFL all along have been expected to contribute $500 million.

The document approved Thursday to the cheers of workers in the Laborers Union and others is conditional upon other agreements being reached between the team, the board and other entities. The team would not pay rent under the 30-year agreement, but it would have to contribute to a fund that would cover capital expenses that come up as the facility ages.

The agreement also gives the team the right to name the stadium and prohibits any type of gambling in the premises.

Next on the board’s priority list is an agreement that would allow the football team of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas to use the facility. The team also has to figure out parking options for the stadium that will be built near the Las Vegas Strip, west of the Mandalay Bay casino-resort. The land they recently purchased is not big enough to accommodate the one-spot-per-four-seats county requirement.

Raiders President Marc Badain said the design for the stadium has been finalized, but renderings will not be unveiled immediately.

“It’s going to be spectacular,” he said after the lease was approved. He added that the team has heard from entities interested in the stadium’s naming rights.