Mark Davis not celebrating Raiders' move to Vegas 'like I would like to be'

Mark Davis not celebrating Raiders' move to Vegas 'like I would like to be'

The Raiders were approved to relocate from Oakland to Las Vegas last week by a 31-1 vote of NFL ownership, but the Silver and Black won’t be packing up quite yet.

They could play as many as three seasons in a market they’re leaving, creating a limbo period that isn’t fun for many. That includes Raiders owner Mark Davis, who has been stressed about this move despite securing a sweetheart deal to build a new venue just off the Las Vegas Strip.

"I’m not celebrating anything like I would like to be,” Davis said Tuesday in an extended interview with 95.7-The Game host JT the Brick. “We’re building a world-class venue in the entertainment capital of the world that will be great for Super Bowls and big events, but I still have a feeling for the fans in the Bay Area. I’ve met with a number of them, and anything I say isn’t going to soothe them. It makes this whole thing bittersweet.”

Davis detailed several starts and stops in stadium talks with Oakland and Alameda County, explaining to fans why he eventually turned full attention to Las Vegas. He said the Raiders nearly had a term sheet for a stadium completed with development company Colony Capital, and that a 10-year lease extension between the Athletics and Oakland Coliseum in summer 2014 derailed that Raiders stadium effort.

Davis referred to that A’s lease as an obstacle several times during the interview where he said he exhausted options to stay in the Bay Area despite a desire to do so. He also said the NFL pushed hard to keep the Raiders in place.

“The only people Oakland was in competition with was themselves,” Davis said. ”If they could’ve come up with a deal that could’ve given us the land or leased it at reasonable terms and gave us the infrastructure and ability to find a developer to bridge the funding gap, we may have been able to do something on that site. I believe it’s a phenomenal. Sundays at that stadium are the greatest. …Plans the city had would downgrade that game day experience.”

Davis said he offered a 20-percent stake in the Raiders at favorable rates to development companies and Athletics ownership. Offering a stake to the Athletics was new information, something originally expressed when Davis and team president Marc Badain had lunch with then-A's owner Lew Wolff and another top executive. 

The Raiders wanted both teams to vacate the Coliseum site and return when two sport-specific stadia were complete. The A’s didn’t pursue that plan, and it didn't go much further. The Raiders kept trying different alternatives, Davis outlined in the interview, but weren't able to secure a stadium deal in the East Bay.

“We’ve tried to get help to build (a stadium) either with the A’s or on our own, but we do not want to build in the corner of that parking lot,” Davis said. “We were never going to do that. We want to build something that’s going to be great, a world-class stadium that the Raiders, the NFL and, most of all, the fans are proud of. That wasn’t going to happen.”

That, and a messy lease negotiation in 2016 shifted Davis' focus outside the market, where he eventually secured financing on a $1.7 billion stadium in Las Vegas that includes $750 million in public funds and a loan from Bank of America. 

The Raiders hold one-year lease options to play at Oakland Coliseum in 2017 and 2018. Davis has said he hopes the Raiders will remain in the Bay Area in 2019 – his Las Vegas stadium won’t be ready until 2020 -- though the Oakland Coliseum authority has balked at that prospect. The Raiders could also play at Cal's Memorial Stadium or Levi's Stadium if they choose to remain in the Bay Area in 2019. Davis is adverse to renovating UNLV's Sam Boyd Stadium for just one season, considering it won't permanently host any team beyond that season. 

Davis vowed to remain active in the Bay Area community before and after the Raiders leave, and hopes to shield his team and employees from fan ire over his decision to move.

“If there’s blame to be given, it should be aimed at me,” Davis said. “I’m the one who made the decision. My dream is for us to play out the next two, possibly three seasons in Oakland. I’d like to bring a championship to Oakland. I’m hoping that, in time, emotions will dry and that we’ll be able to do something of that nature.

“…I feel like I should say I understand that there is anger and disappointment, and that it should be pointed at me and not a Derek Carr, Khalil Mack and Jack Del Rio. Those guys want to bring a championship to the Bay Area.”

Raiders finalize five-year contract extension with Derek Carr

Raiders finalize five-year contract extension with Derek Carr

Derek Carr is now the NFL's highest paid player. The Raiders quarterback agreed on terms of a five-year, $125 million contract extension a source confirmed on Thursday morning, keeping the franchise's public face in silver and black through the 2022 season. 

Carr confirmed the agreement on Twitter early Thursday. 

"Now it's done!" Carr wrote. "From the jump I've wanted to be a Raider 4 life. One step closer to that! Blessed!!! Business done! Let's just play now!!!"

Carr was set to make a $977,515 base salary in 2017, the final year of his rookie contract. Carr's raise is significant, and underscores his value to the franchise. Carr's $125 million extension includes $70 million in guaranteed money and $40 million fully guaranteed at signing -- the portion not fully guaranteed is guaranteed for injury -- a source said. The deal features $25 million in the first year -- there's a $12.5 million signing bonus -- with $67.5 million over the first three years, according to ESPN's Dan Graziano.  

Carr's deal resets the quarterback market -- Matthew Stafford may do so again soon -- with an annual value above Andrew Luck's previous record extension. The Colts quarterback signed a five-year, $122.9 million extension last year, which Carr has now exceeded. 

The complete contract structure is not yet known, but a somewhat delayed payout plan is expected due to two key factors. The largest is Carr's desire to see other star Raiders receive extensions, and his deal gives the team some flexibility to keep important players in house. The Raiders will also move to Las Vegas by 2020 at the latest, where there is no state tax. California residents max out at a 13.3-percent tax rate, meaning his money will be worth more later in the deal.  

The 26-year old's ultimate goal was to maximize earnings without handcuffing the organization, and that's setting up well. His deal will help the Raiders that regard, though the team has also budgeted to extend several members of their young core. They have financial flexibility in future seasons and upfront salary cap space, though productive drafts are required to remain competitive as the cash gets gobbled by Carr and others in coming years.

The Raiders were always confident the Carr extension would get done this offseason, and the deal was finalized well before the quarterback's self-imposed training camp deadline. Carr's camp had discussed parameters of an extension months ago, but talks heated up in the last few weeks and ended up with an agreement that locks Carr down. 

The Raiders also hope to extend two more members of a star-studded 2014 draft class. Right guard Gabe Jackson is next in line, and could get a new deal this offseason and edge rusher Khalil Mack will get a massive contract at some point in the near future. Jackson's entering a contract year, but the team exercised a fifth-year option that creates more time to get a Mack deal done. Amari Cooper has some time under his rookie deal -- it could last through the 2019 season -- but the Raiders want to pair him with Carr for several seasons. 

Carr, Raiders both win with soon-to-be mega-deal done at right time

Carr, Raiders both win with soon-to-be mega-deal done at right time

If Derek Carr gets his $25 million deal from the Oakland Raiders and becomes the richest quarterback in National Football League history, the Raiders will have gotten a bargain.
 
Unless he gets hurt.
 
Or unless he turns lousy.
 
Or unless the NFL’s defensive coordinators decipher a way to strip him of his powers and render him McCown-tastic.
 
Or unless football happens in a hundred other ways, because of all the sports ever devised by wealthy man to amuse sedentary man, football taught cruelty to the landmine discus.
 
But the same can be said for any football player at any salary. Carr, on the other hand, is a qualified practitioner at a sport that has very few of them – maybe 10 if you’re looking at football, 119 if you’re trying to tot up all the quarterbacks who got contracts so Colin Kaepernick couldn’t.
 
That means he is a rare commodity, and the Raiders did the right thing by tying him up. The alternative, you see, is Kirk Cousins and the Washington Supreme Court-Mandated Native-American Heads.
 
Cousins was not signed when the Washingtons could have gotten him at a high but still reasonable rate, and now he is one year away from being franchised a third time at the hilarious figure of $34.47 million per year.
 
The lesson is clear. Nothing pays like procrastination, and by waiting to give Cousins what they knew they’d have to give him eventually for choosing him over Robert Griffin III, the Battling Snyders will pay through both nostrils, ears, eye sockets and mouth to keep him.
 
By signing Carr now, the Raiders have as much cost certainty as they can have at the position, and all they have to do now is (a) keep him stocked with supporting players and (b) keep him safe from opposing ones.
 
This isn’t easy, of course; most quarterbacks eventually end up in a fiery crash in Turn Two, and their ability to escape the mangled wreckage is the only thing keeping them from becoming part of the mangled wreckage.
 
So yeah, luck. Lots of luck.
 
On the other hand, the Raiders could have guaranteed that they would have had to overpay by a factor of 1.5 or maybe more by not signing him now, or they could have saved millions more by losing him entirely, which would have been just the gift for the discerning Las Vegas ticket holder who wanted an excuse not to buy tickets.
 
Essentially, Carr played the system brilliantly, and good for him since under most circumstances the system plays the players. Football players have a short enough career, and a shorter than average quality of life, so the rule of thumb should always be getting everything available and as much guaranteed as possible.
 
In fact, were I Derek Carr, I’d ask for ALL the money to be guaranteed just to set a standard for those who come behind me.
 
But if he’s happy – and let’s wait to see how much of this deal is actually guaranteed and how much is placed on a rug that will be pulled out from beneath him – and the Raiders are happy – and why wouldn’t they be? – then there’s nobody to complain, now, is there?
 
Now the Raiders of old would have screwed this up, and somehow Carr would have done so as well. But this team hasn’t done anything regally boneheaded since . . . well, trying to go to Los Angeles . . . or maybe hiring Dennis Allen . . . or . . . 
 
Oh, never mind. The point is, Carr was done at the right time, at the right number, for the right reasons, and both sides should be delighted.
 
And in nine or twelve or seventeen days when Matthew Stafford gets a deal that makes him a dollar more than Derek Carr . . . well, we’ll let the amateur accountants who think NFL contracts define players sort out that level of idiocy.