As the National Football League slowly meanders toward a Los Angeles resolution, it appears the Oakland Raiders are out of the LA NFL mix and negotiating a two-year lease extension for O.co Coliseum.
This is the latest twist on what’s turned out to be a complicated decision on how the NFL will approach the number of teams moving to the potentially lucrative Los Angeles market. An original game plan had one or two teams moving there for the 2016 season, playing out of the Los Angeles Coliseum. But two weeks ago reports pegged Oakland and San Diego as the front runners to land Los Angeles; now it sounds like the Rams and the Chargers are leaders in the race, with Oakland trailing.
— Mark Purdy (@MercPurdy) October 17, 2015
Now, take this with a huge grain of salt; Purdy tends to run with thinly sourced rumors much faster than most in the media. But this isn’t a surprise: there has been a lot of lobbying of NFL owners by the three teams and other interested parties (reps from St. Louis, for instance), and it would be hard for owners to turn down the likes of Stan Kroenke when he requests a move to a stadium he’s building on his own dime.
Which is why the informed talk has the Rams and the Chargers moving to a new Inglewood stadium: they have the financial resources to make the billion-dollar deal work. It also leaves the Raiders — whose ownership doesn’t have deep pockets — in Oakland. That doesn’t mean the team is totally committed to staying in Oakland: a two-year lease extension still leaves the team available for a move to St. Louis or San Diego if a new publicly funded stadium happens in either city.
Now, all of this is still talk, and almost all the action is happening behind the scenes. And, of course, there are still so many variables here it would make your head spin, so we’re not going to lay odds on what teams end up where. Indeed, this could end up changing again next week, but don’t expect a final decision before the beginning of 2016.