The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Maryland and D.C. politicians might have helped Virginia land the Redskins’ next stadium

The Redskins have played at FedEx Field in Landover, Md., since 1997. Their lease expires in 2027. (Lance King/Getty Images)

A bill proposed by Maryland and District lawmakers this week could give Virginia an edge in landing the Redskins’ next stadium.

D.C. Council member David Grosso, I-At Large, and Maryland Del. David Moon, D-Montgomery County, each submitted bills Monday as an interstate compact barring the use of public funds or lands for a Redskins stadium. The pair failed to gain a Virginia sponsor, so Redskins owner Dan Snyder could still have one local jurisdiction in the bidding if the bills pass. The stadium is expected to cost at least $1.5 billion, and the team is expected to seek public money.

Grosso and Moon cited the team’s name, which they consider racist, among the reasons for the bills.

“A football team worth well over $1 billion should not have to rely on special government assistance to fund their facilities,” Grosso said. “It’s also hard for me to cheer for a team that is so disrespectful to indigenous peoples.”

Both bills will soon be assigned to committees and face uphill challenges. District Council member Jack Evans supports the team’s return to Washington after its departing RFK Stadium in 1997. Many Maryland legislators also support the team remaining in Prince George’s County when its current lease in Landover ends in 2027.

Even as a long shot, Grosso’s and Moon’s actions indicate stadium talks are ongoing with leaders in Maryland, Virginia and the District.

After all, it took nine years for late owner Jack Kent Cooke to find a site for FedEx Field. Opposition moved it three times, from Alexandria, D.C. and Laurel, Md., to its current home in Landover.

Virginia may be the easiest jurisdiction to cut a deal with. Gov. Terry McAuliffe has no problem with the team’s name and has been talking to the Redskins since last summer. The team is based in Ashburn, Va., year-round with a three-week summer camp in Richmond.

Snyder needs to move quickly: McAuliffe’s term ends next January and who knows how his successor will feel about pledging $1 billion in public money or the team’s controversial name.

McAuliffe has been pushing Loudoun County as the site, somewhere along the coming Silver Line. While one site on the flight approach to Dulles International Airport has been mentioned, other possible venues along Old Ox Road may also be considered.

Virginia and Maryland remain the leaders over the District. Neighborhood opposition and challenges for revamping RFK Stadium’s footprint make D.C. an expensive option.

Snyder needs three bidders to get the most money. Don’t be surprised if the dealmaking process speeds up before Grosso and Moon attract an ally from Virginia.

Read more columns from Rick Snider:

How the Redskins could trade away Kirk Cousins this offseason

The Redskins’ failed experiment with the 3-4 defense should end

Scot McCloughan is on the clock in crucial third offseason with Redskins