The Oakland Raiders may not be the Oakland Raiders for much longer, now that reports have surfaced about a joint stadium venture between the Raiders and the San Diego Chargers in Carson, California. While that is not the best news for Oakland fans, it is good news for the team as they head towards free agency. Being able to pitch a new stadium to potential free agent prospects is a very valuable tool that has just been handed to Reggie McKenzie and Jack Del Rio.
The deal is far from done as both teams have said they will continue to pursue options in their home market and have yet to account where all of the funding will come from, but this is a huge step toward getting a stadium built.
If the teams end up not moving to a shared complex in Carson, it will likely be because this effort has applied enough pressure on Oakland and/or San Diego to get a stadium built in one of those locations. Nothing is done, but the play by the Chargers and Raiders does one thing for sure — it forces all parties to get moving. Though we do not know which city the Raiders will call home in the future, we have a good idea that the answer to that question will be known soon.
Regardless of whether the new stadium would be in Oakland, or more likely in Carson, the Raiders can tell free agents that if they sign a deal for more than a year, they will be playing in a new stadium before their contract is up (granted, a free agent would have to sign an extremely long contract that the Raiders would have to stick to, given that the stadium hasn’t been paid for and construction hasn’t begun). Given the fact that one of the worst parts of joining the Raiders was their dilapidated stadium, this is a huge pitch for guys the team is trying to bring in.
Again, we are not at the finish line yet … but it is within sight, and that’s a lot more than could be said in years past.