Rants from the Cheap Seats: Raiders on the move, no respect for Vets, and Jones/Moreau draft stock shot
By Jim Weidner. As a fellow football fan, you know there is no true offseason in today’s NFL. With news by the hour daily, we here at The Fantasy Greek thought we would do a weekly column that discusses the happenings of the NFL.
The Raiders head to Sin City
NFL owners voted 31-1 this past week to allow Mark Davis and his Oakland Raiders to move to Las Vegas, with Stephen Ross of the Miami Dolphins the only one voting against the move. The move had been rumored for months but it became more of a reality when it was announced that Las Vegas and Nevada would contribute $750 million dollars towards a new domed stadium. Although the plan looked like it might be dead in the water when Sands chairman and billionaire Sheldon Adelson pulled out of the deal, Davis and the Raiders kept the deal together when Bank of America agreed to loan them $650 million dollars to construct a new stadium.
For the longest time, the NFL has avoided Las Vegas because of the gambling aspect. But when there is money to be made and a stadium to be built with tax payer money, the owners put aside their feelings towards “Sin City” and allowed Davis, whose father Al moved the Raiders twice before, to make the move.
The losers of this deal are the Oakland fans who supported the Raiders for years and will see their favorite team move for the second time. As Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf said about the fans, “they deserved better”. But let’s not group Mayor Schaaf and the actual city of Oakland into that group that deserved better. The city of Oakland, led by the mayor, have known for years that the Raiders have been playing in an outdated stadium. Oakland Coliseum had major issues. The city could have dealt with the Raiders and their desire to have a new stadium years ago, but instead made a last ditch proposal to keep the Raiders in the bay area, trying to save face and most likely, votes for the next election. It is one thing to not want to give billionaires millions of dollars to build their new stadiums, but it is another to give the appearance you want to keep them in the last hour.
Oddly, the Raiders will play at least the next two seasons in Oakland before making the move to Las Vegas. Oakland fans will likely make life tough on Davis and the NFL during that time, which you can’t fault them for doing. This situation once again makes the NFL look like they care more about the bottom line than their fans, something San Diego and St. Louis residents know well after the Chargers and the Rams left town in recent years to chase the dollar signs.
‘Respecting your elders’
When this season’s free agent period started, many younger free agents flew off the board. Fast forward to the present, and there are some well-known veteran free agents still available. Just like in off seasons past, many of the free agents left are up there in age. Players like running back Adrian Peterson, cornerback Darrelle Revis, quarterback Jay Cutler, tackle Ryan Clady, center Nick Mangold, and quarterback Colin Kaepernick all find themselves searching for jobs. Although Peterson has refuted it, Peterson might be pricing him out of the market. The NFL has become a young man’s game, so for older players like these, they will either have to embrace the reality they no longer can get the big money contracts they are used to, or get on with the next phase of their lives. At the very least, some will have to wait until after the NFL Draft, when teams fill in roster spots.
NFL Draft Prospects Injured in Workouts
With NFL teams investing millions of dollars in rookie players, campus workouts have become common for prospects interviewing with possible future employers. But after two top draft prospects were injured during on campus workouts, the NFLPA might want to step in and do something before it gets out of hand.
University of Washington cornerback Sidney Jones and UCLA cornerback Fabian Moreau were both injured during their workouts for NFL teams. Jones suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon while Moreau tore a pectoral muscle while doing the bench press. It shocks that this hasn’t occurred more often to prospects. With so much on the line for these young players, many push themselves to a point they shouldn’t go in their workouts. Sadly, both players will be out millions of dollars because their injuries will make their draft stock drop, possibly going undrafted.
NFL teams have hours and hours of tape of these prospects playing in games, along with their measurable from the NFL combine. It makes you wonder why there are so many other workouts. Besides on campus workouts and the NFL Combine, many NFL teams have these players come into their own facilities and go through private workouts run by the teams. It is understandable that you want to make sure a prospect is as good as advertised, but when is enough, enough? If the NFLPA is truly watching out for their own, one would think that they would look into limiting these workouts for prospects, to drop the chance of these types of injuries occurring.