Raiders leaving Oakland because not enough interest in them staying

Raiders leaving Oakland because not enough interest in them staying

The Oakland Raiders are down to their final week of existence, and you can tell it’s going to end because the leaks from owners who usually stay buttoned-up on NFL owner business are whispering to their approved receptacles.

They have essentially said that the 24 votes are pretty much there for Mark Davis to take the team to Las Vegas, and harp on the fact that Oakland offered them no alternative to voting for relocation.

And what they are saying here is that Oakland would not cheerfully play ball in the NFL’s most popular form of extortion – the city-pays-for-the-stadium-and-the-team-takes-the-money dodge.

This is important to note, because when the vote is finally held, there will be attempts to explain the Raiders in Las Vegas as Oakland’s failure, when in fact the actual shorthand history is this:

1. Years of sales, marketing and on-field neglect made the Raiders a poor revenue generator by changing NFL standards. The Raiders had been making money but they were also accepting supplemental revenue sharing from the league which was about to dry up.

2. Oakland and Alameda County chose not to bail out the Raiders A SECOND TIME after getting royally screwed the first time. Mount Davis is among the greatest architectural mistakes of the last three centuries, and it still isn’t close to being paid off, so the city and county made the utterly defensible stand of getting out of the stadium game entirely by making a deal with the Fortress corporation that gave the NFL no leverage – and the NFL loves leverage the way you love puppies.

3. Mark Davis has been eager to show how desperate he is to leave but has been remarkably silent on casting blame toward Oakland (and to that point, nobody in Alameda County government has called Davis any names either). The normal owner tack is to deflect blame by savaging the government that wouldn’t build them palaces, and yet the quiet here would deafen crickets.

4. There has been remarkably little outrage in town over the proposed move, far less than San Diego or St. Louis. This has been considered a fait accompli for awhile now, and even those good souls who desperately wanted to keep the Raiders have been relying on the kindnesses of contrarian owners to save them because it worked as recently as a year ago.

In short, the Raiders are leaving because there isn’t enough interest in them staying.

Alternately:

1. The NFL wants access to the hot international cash that flows freely in Las Vegas.

2. Nevada got hoodwinked by casino owner/king of Las Vegas Sheldon Adelson into pledging $750 million in stadium funds, and though the NFL spurned about half that figure to leave St. Louis a year ago, $750M free and clear would get Warren Buffett’s attention.

3. The NFL owners have always been frustrated by not getting their own way in California, and having managed to screw up Los Angeles twice and then doubled down by screwing up San Diego a year later, their attachment to Oakland has waned. One suspects that if the owners could come up with a good reason to move the 49ers to Beijing, they’d take it.

4. The league is not terribly troubled by the loss of market size (Oakland is half of the sixth-largest TV market, Las Vegas is 40th) because the changing face of sports consumption makes television market size less important with an easily identifiable brand like the Swords Through The Head Guy. As for attendance and local media revenues, the assumption the owners are making is that it can be made up by redefining the fan base as more regional (L.A. and the Bay Area as well as gamblers in general) than local.

5. Jerry Jones, the owner of the Dallas Cowboys, makes big cash by running stadiums through his company Legends, of which he owns a third. He is also a great vote-whipper among his fellow owners. Legends will run the Vegas stadium. Do the math.

So the Raiders move because there is literally no compelling reason to keep them in Oakland save tradition, and nobody cares about tradition any more.

Hell, not even the Raiders care about tradition – they were born to be put in Minnesota, got thrown into Oakland when the NFL beat the AFL into Minneapolis, moved to Los Angeles, and then moved back, and then investigated San Antonio before re-investigating Los Angeles.

But when the story about how this happened is told – by the winners, of course – just remember that this wasn’t Oakland’s failure. It was Al Davis’ failure, and Mark Davis’ failure, and the NFL’s failure – and Las Vegas’ victory, until it becomes a failure too.

After all, three franchise moves in two years means the league is trying to transcend geography, west to east. Seattle, your ass is next.

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.

Report: Raiders, Carr close to finalizing massive contract extension

Report: Raiders, Carr close to finalizing massive contract extension

The Raiders want to extend Derek Carr’s contract. The franchise quarterback wants a deal done by training camp. That timeline has always worked for both sides, which are committed to a long-term union.

They might not need the full allotment to complete this pact. The Raiders are close to completing a contract extension with Carr that could make be worth approximately $25 million per year, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported on Wednesday afternoon.

That falls in line with the franchise quarterback market. Andrew Luck’s five-year contract is worth $24.6 million per year, and sources have long indicated that would be a launching point for Carr’s extension.

Carr himself was quick to point out a deal isn’t done. He said so on Twitter moments after the Schefter report, saying “Nothing done yet…trust me you will hear it here first.”

Carr’s right. A deal hasn’t been finalized, but the expectation is that it will happen. Schefter reports a deal could be done by the end of this week.

The start of training camp was Carr’s deadline – he said he’d play out his rookie contract if an extension wasn’t done by then -- but the 26-year old signal caller wants a deal done as soon as possible.

He doesn’t like talking about business. He hates it when teammates get asked about it. Carr wants focus on football, and signing a market-value contract extension will do exactly that.

A hometown discount was never in the cards. It never is in regard to franchise quarterbacks across the league. Their value is immense and they get paid accordingly. A proposed length of the deal remains uncertain and, with all NFL contracts, the devil’s in the details and guaranteed funds. Carr’s guaranteed figure should be high, especially in early portions of the contract.

The Raiders budgeted to pay Carr, right guard Gabe Jackson and edge rusher Khalil Mack in a relatively compact space. They have $32 million in salary cap space heading into the 2017 season, and could offer massive up-front money to their quarterback.

The contract would certainly set a franchise record and could make Carr the NFLs highest paid player. He’s in line for such status now because he slipped to the 2014 NFL draft’s second round – fifth-year contract options are only available to first-round picks – and his emergence as an MVP candidate last year.

Carr has made giant leaps in each of the last two seasons. Last year was his best. Carr had 3,937 passing yards 28 touchdowns, six interceptions, a 96.7 passer rating and seven-fourth quarter comebacks during a 12-4 campaign that snapped a long Raiders playoff drought. Carr broke his fibula in Week 16 and his absence proved his value. The Raiders struggled mightily without him, and were bounced in the postseason opener. He’s completely healthy and again and has been a full participant in the Raiders offseason program. That stretch ended last week. Carr is expected to start training camp with a long-term contract completed.