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.

Raiders OC Todd Downing: New weapons will 'make me look good'

Raiders OC Todd Downing: New weapons will 'make me look good'

STANFORD – Todd Downing has long been responsible for intently analyzing college quarterbacks entering the NFL Draft. He certainly did so during two seasons as Raiders quarterbacks coach, adding input to personnel department evaluations on young signal callers.

This offseason, he’s using a wide-angle lens. Downing is the Raiders offensive coordinator now, promoted to the position after Bill Musgrave was allowed to leave on an expired contract.

Coaches enter the draft evaluation process relatively late – they have a season to coach, after all – but Downing prides himself on working hard in evaluating talent. Working with general manager Reggie McKenzie’s staff, coaches feel like their voice is being heard.

That’s important to a coordinator especially, who must make a scheme work with talent around him.

“Reggie and his staff have always done a tremendous job of listening to our vision for the offense or the defense,” Downing said Thursday at Stanford’s pro day. “It’s been a joy to work with those guys over the past three years.

“(Head coach Jack Del Rio) really expects us to be accountable for our position group. Now that I’m the coordinator, there’s more of a broad scope when looking at offensive talent in the draft. When you work that hard (evaluating players), I think the scouts know that your opinion is well grounded, and that validates it a little bit.”

Downing is always on the lookout for weapons, especially while making tweaks to the Raiders offense. The Silver and Black found a few, adding tight end Jared Cook, receiver Cordarrelle Patterson, offensive lineman Marshal Newhouse and quarterback EJ Manuel.

Quarterback Derek Carr helped him get some. The full-time East Bay resident has been active recruiting free agents, trying to improve an already strong Raiders offense.

“You guys know how passionate he is about this game, and about this team and backing up this franchise,” Downing said. “(His involvement in recruiting) didn’t surprise any of us. He’s pretty hands on when it comes to football. He lives in the area, so he hopped in when we needed it and it paid off.”

Cook and Patterson especially could add dimensions to a well-rounded Raiders attack. Cook has made some big plays in the past, and should be a reliable receiving tight end the Raiders have lacked in recent seasons.

“He has a skill set that will be fun to play with (schematically),” Downing said. “We’re excited to see what he can do, and I know Derek is excited to add him. He has a history of making plays in this league, and that’s something we’re excited to have.”

Patterson’s primarily known as a kick returner – he’s a two-time All Pro on special teams – but the Raiders hope he’ll be active on offense.

“With guys like that, you just find a way to get them the rock and let them do the rest of the work,” Downing said. “They make me look good. I can call a simple play and he takes it the distance and it looks like I designed something special.”

Week after signing with Vikings, ex-Raiders RB Murray undergoes surgery

Week after signing with Vikings, ex-Raiders RB Murray undergoes surgery

A week after signing a deal with the Vikings, former Raiders running back Latavius Murray has undergone ankle surgery.

The Vikings made the announcement Wednesday afternoon.

Minnesota issued the following statement regarding the surgery:

"Vikings RB Latavius Murray had successful ankle surgery today. The surgery was performed by Dr. Bob Anderson in Charlotte, North Carolina. We were aware of the required surgery prior to signing Latavius on March 16. Latavius is expected to fully recover and be available for training camp."

Murray's deal with the Vikings is reported worth $15 million over three years, but can reportedly be voied after the first year.

Drafted in the sixth round of the 2013 NFL Draft, Murray became the Raiders' primary running back midway through the 2015 season. In his three years in Oakland, Murray carried the ball 543 times for 2,278 yards and 12 touchdowns. He was named to the Pro Bowl in 2015.