Mark Davis: If Vegas delivers, 'we'll be the Las Vegas Raiders'


Mark Davis: If Vegas delivers, 'we'll be the Las Vegas Raiders'

UPDATE (12pm on Thursday, April 28) -- The Raiders issued the following statement:

"The Raiders would like to thank the Southern Nevada Tourism Infrastructure Committee and Mayor Goodman for their time today as we continue to explore options for a permanent stadium solution. We appreciate the support and passion of Raiders fans everywhere."


Raiders owner Mark Davis delivered some big news on Thursday. He stepped to the podium and said, “I’m excited to announce here today the 14th pick in the NFL Draft…”

Davis didn’t finish that sentence. It was far too early to know whom the Raiders would make their first-round pick. Plus, he was in the wrong state.

[BAIR: Raiders' draft slot makes Reggie McKenzie's job 'harder']

Davis attended the Southern Nevada Tourism and Infrastructure Committee meeting in Las Vegas, and made a pledge that could impact the organization far more than any single draft pick.

Davis promised to work on relocating the Raiders to a $1.3 billion domed stadium proposal near the Las Vegas Strip if formally approved by the Nevada state legislature, and he backed it up with cash. Davis said Thursday morning that the Raiders would commit $500 million to the project, which also received support from MLS owner and soccer icon David Beckham.

The Raiders’ $500 million was the same originally offered to build an Oakland stadium, a figure that includes a $200 million loan from the NFL’s G4 program.

“Together we can turn the Silver State into the Silver-and-Black State,” Davis said at the SNTIC meeting.

Davis said this commitment was not just a leverage ploy.

“This is not a bargaining chip,” Davis said in a press conference. “…This is real.”

The proposed Las Vegas stadium is backed by some powerful folks. Las Vegas Sands Corp. is pushing this project in partnership with Ed Roski’s Majestic Realty. Roski long tried to build a Los Angeles NFL stadium in the City of Industry.

A total of $650 million would come from private sources, with the rest from the public via $50 million annual blocks from taxes on tourists.

The Las Vegas stadium proposal could house the Raiders, the UNLV football team, concerts and other large sporting events.

Davis’ backing is key to the stadium’s viability.

"We have made a commitment to Las Vegas and that's where it stands,” Davis said, via ESPN. “If Las Vegas can come through ... we'll be the Las Vegas Raiders."

Las Vegas is the country’s No. 41 media market with a local fan base far smaller than the Bay Area. Las Vegas is a tourist hub drawing outsiders to town with legalized gambling and lavish resorts. Raiders fans are a transient group, and Davis’ hope is that fans follow the team to a possible new locale.

“Las Vegas would not just be getting a football team,” Davis said. “They would be getting everyone who has worn the silver and black for the last 56 years.”

The SNTIC cannot approve a stadium project. It can be expected to make a recommendation to the state legislature. The Nevada State Legislature isn't scheduled to meet until Feb. 2017, though stadium proponents said Thursday they hoped to arrange a special August meeting vote on public funding for this project. 

A new Raiders locale requires approval from 24 NFL owners. Any relocation must be validated with a three-quarters approval vote of the membership, something that isn’t guaranteed given the league’s aversion to direct association with legalized gambling. Las Vegas hasn’t been considered a viable market for that reason, though there is some sentiment among owners willing to look past the gambling connection.

“I wouldn’t phrase it by saying there won’t be any problems,” Davis said in a press conference. “I would say that we would make them an offer they can’t refuse.”

Davis has been looking for a long-term stadium solution for year. He partnered with the Chargers on a stadium proposal in the Los Angeles suburb of Carson, but lost out to the Rams’ Inglewood project.

The Raiders have an opportunity to join the Rams in Inglewood if the Chargers, who have higher L.A. priority, decided to stay in San Diego.

Davis seems to prefer the Las Vegas market and greater control on stadium design – he values ingress, egress and a quality tailgating environment -- and outside revenue.

The Raiders signed a one-year lease extension with Oakland-Alameda Coliseum for 2016, with two one-year lease extensions built in. There has been little to no progress trying to build a new facility in the East Bay. Team and public officials seem stuck over the cost of land on the Coliseum site and where the MLB’s Oakland Athletics fit into a new development. The A’s also play at the Oakland Coliseum.

UNLV’s Sam Boyd Stadium is not a viable interim NFL stadium site, so the team could remain in Oakland under their recently approved lease extension options while a new Las Vegas Stadium is built. Davis did say the Raiders would play an exhibition game at Sam Boyd Stadium during that time.

Carr plans to spread new wealth after Raiders contract extension

Carr plans to spread new wealth after Raiders contract extension

ALAMEDA – Derek Carr isn’t one for extravagance. The low-key Raiders quarterback already has some nice cars, a house and some luxury items to his name, but signing a $125 million contract extension Friday morning won't prompt a spending spree.

Cornerback Sean Smith suggested he get a Bugatti. That’s a $1 million car.

“Yeah,” Carr said with a smirk. “That’s not going to happen.”

That isn’t the 26-year old’s style. Carr had a his own plan after signing on the dotted line.

“I’ve been eating clean,” Carr said. “I’ll probably get Chick-fil-A.”

That makes sense. This is a guy who celebrated his first NFL victory with a trip through a Carl’s Jr. drive-in.

There will be other purchases. His wife Heather will get something nice in the near future. His family, especially Heather and sons Dallas and Deker, will be taken care of for life.

After all that, Carr plans to spread the wealth.

“The exciting thing for me moneywise, honestly, is this money is going to help a lot of people,” Carr said. “I’m very thankful to have it, that it’s in our hands because it’s going to help people. Not only in this country, but in a lot of countries around the world. That’s what’s exciting to me.”

Carr and former Raiders running back Latavius Murray took a missionary trip to Haiti, an impoverished nation had a profound impact on the star quarterback.

“I’ve been down to Haiti and I’ve seen some of those struggles that they have and the kids there, and my heart just… I cry sometimes thinking about it,” Carr said. “So, just knowing that we can go down there and make a difference and help, those are the kind of things that the money makes me kind of like, ‘Oh my gosh.’ Because now we can really do some things to help a lot of people.”

He plans to support those in that area, in addition to global and domestic charities he has been involved with over the years. Don’t expect a press release accompanying every donation. Carr would rather keep those decisions private.

“I’m going to do my best to make sure no one knows what we do with it,” Carr said. “I’ll just say this, I can assure you that it’s going to help a lot of people. I’m not stingy. My business manager will probably be on me saying, ‘Hey man, that’s enough.’ I won’t get into when, how or why. It’s not all about that for me. It’s about making a difference. That’s what’s exciting for me is that we’ll be able to do that.”

Carr didn't want to 'take every single dime,' handcuff Raiders long-term

Carr didn't want to 'take every single dime,' handcuff Raiders long-term

ALAMEDA – Raiders quarterback Derek Carr signed a five-year contract extension Friday morning that will pay him $25 million in 2017 and $125 million over the life of the deal.

That’s a lot of scratch. Could’ve been more.

Carr received life-changing money. He didn’t want to handcuff the Raiders front office in the process.

“I just wanted to be a Raider,” Carr said Friday in a press conference. “It’s more than just a team to me. It’s family. The way it went down, it was easy. Both sides wanted it to get done, and it was about family members figuring out to get along. We figured out a way to do it so that we have the opportunity to sign other guys who are important to this organization. That was really important to me, not to just take every single dime that we could”

That list is long but it starts with homegrown talents Gabe Jackson and Khalil Mack. Jackson is up next, and could get locked up before the regular season starts. The Raiders have some time on Mack – his contract doesn’t expire until after 2018 – and Amari Cooper should be a keeper on down the road.

“The bottom line is we’re able to continue to move forward with it, keep all the players that we need to keep in the correct timing,” Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie said. “This affords us to do that. We’re going to start on that ASAP.”

Carr got the deal he wanted. The 26-year old found market value and upped the ante for NFL quarterbacks a smidge while deferring some cash payouts – his big-time bonuses are broken up over two years -- to create windows of financial flexibility to sign other players. Carr’s percentage of the salary cap should decrease over time and won’t become an insurmountable burden to his employers. His deal won’t prevent the Raiders from keeping Jackson, Mack, Amari Cooper in time, or other vital veterans in house.

With Carr locked up, the McKenzie can work deals and the timing of them around his centerpiece.

Carr understands the NFL business and his role in the market, but he wants to maintain a competitive window as best he can and understands other guys will draw huge paychecks in the near future.

He’s scheduled to draw the NFL’s largest sum next season. A record $25 million is headed his way, though that total will decrease a bit in time and will certainly he surpassed by Matthew Stafford and possibly Kirk Cousins in the near future.

“I don’t care if they all do. We got our contract done, that’s all that matters to me,” Carr said. “The other thing that was important to me is that we didn’t worry about what other people were going to do or doing. I just wanted to get mine done and make sure that the team had, again like we talked about, flexibility to make sure my friends stay around.”

Carr was intimately involved in the negotiation process. Both sides said it was easy, wrapped up well before Carr’s training-camp contract deadline. Common ground was found in short shrift once talks warmed up – preliminary talks started months ago -- and a deal was ironed out that produced smiles on both sides once the deal was formally done.

Even after taking a relatively soft-line stance on dollars and the timing of payments – Carr could’ve been difficult all year and eventually forced a franchise tag – he’s still the league’s highest-paid player. His salary will now be compared with his stats. He was a second-round draft steal before. Now he’s a big-money player. In short, expectations will rise.

Carr insists it won’t add pressure to next year’s proceedings.

“You could give me a dollar, you could give me $25 million, it doesn’t matter,” Carr said. “To me, my No. 1 goal is to make sure that I give everything that I have to this organization. There’s no pressure. There’s no we’ll be on the 1-yard line and I won’t give it to Marshawn (Lynch), I’ll throw it. None of that stuff. I don’t care about the stats. That’s not my No. 1 objective. I don’t care if I throw 10 touchdowns next year. If we win every game, that’s all I care about.”