Raiders owner Mark Davis doesn’t like losing. He wasn’t happy about withdrawing his application to relocate to the Los Angeles market, an action that spurned an NFL resolution to put the Rams in Inglewood while giving the San Diego Chargers first chance to join them.
Davis walked away from NFL meetings in Houston disappointed but not defeated.
“I’ve been more disappointed when we’ve lost a game than I am today,” Davis said Tuesday. “It’s been a lot of hard work. I feel bad for the staff that has put in thousands of hours and put a lot of energy into this, but you have to move on.”
The Raiders will move on quickly, well armed with contingency plans for a future that involves a stadium solution producing the corporate and general revenue streams required to set up the Davis family business well for the long term.
That may not be in Oakland. Multiple sources told CSN California Monday and Tuesday that the Raiders would explore options outside their home market. They’ll do so with a close eye on what the Chargers do next.
Chargers owner Dean Spanos -– previously partnered with Davis on a Carson stadium proposal passed over by the NFL this week -– is reportedly considering the framework of a deal to be part of the Inglewood project. The Chargers have a year at least to decide, though they could cement their spot in L.A. right away.
If the Chargers decline their option and stay put, the Raiders are next in line to move to L.A. It’s hard to imagine Davis bypassing that opportunity if it comes about. If the Bolts bolt for L.A., sources indicated early this week they would take a serious look at their options in San Diego.
The team has flirted with San Antonio in the past and could consider that market, though powerful owners in Dallas’ Jerry Jones and Houston’s Bob McNair may take issue with a third team coming to Texas.
St. Louis is out of a team, though that city’s mayor doesn’t seem interested in the NFL and Davis has said time and again that market doesn’t interest him.
While Davis looks for long-term solutions, he must also decide what to do in 2016. His team’s O.co Coliseum lease is nearly up, and he wouldn’t commit even to a short-term return.
That brings up another question. Could the Raiders leave their designated home market in 2016 if they wanted to? In short, it’s unlikely at this stage, but not impossible.
The NFL’s relocation window is open until Feb. 15 and, per the relocation guidelines, a request to move outside the Raiders' home market would have to be voted upon by the NFL membership. The team has already passed most of the relocation guidelines this year while applying for their attempted move to L.A., which might allow the league to ease a typically rigorous process.
If the Raiders change markets at any time, a league source said a relocation fee would be considered.
The Raiders could also stay in the Bay Area but play somewhere other than O.co Coliseum. The region has large football venues at Stanford, Cal and, though Davis has repeatedly said he doesn’t want to play in Santa Clara, Levi’s Stadium.
Such a move within the market would be reviewed by the NFL and would be analyzed more extensively than a return to O.co Coliseum, but it would not be expected to create a major impasse.
The Raiders will continue their search for a stadium that will help their business thrive.
“We initially tried to get something done in Oakland, and that didn’t pan out,” Davis said Tuesday in Houston. “We made a commitment to get to Los Angeles. That didn’t work out. We’re third on the list. If the Chargers don’t except an option to be (L.A.’s) second team, that option goes to the Raiders. In the meantime, we’re going to look for a home.”