NFL owners, meeting Wednesday in the Dallas area, approved two measures related to a potential move by the San Diego Chargers to Los Angeles to join the Rams there.
The owners ratified a lease agreement between the Chargers and Rams in Inglewood, Calif. They also approved a debt waiver for the Chargers that would enable them to finance a portion of the relocation fee that would accompany a move to Los Angeles.
The owners’ approvals of the lease deal and debt waiver do not necessitate a Chargers’ move to the city. But they were necessary precursors to such a move if the Chargers decide to relocate, people within the league said this week.
The owners also are mulling a potential move by the Raiders from Oakland to Las Vegas. The Raiders cannot formally apply for relocation until after their season ends. Such a move would have to be ratified by at least 24 of the 32 owners.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said after the meeting that the league would like to see the Chargers and Raiders stay put. But neither San Diego nor Oakland has put forth a stadium proposal that the NFL regards as viable, according to Goodell.
“We have not made great progress in Oakland and San Diego,” Goodell said at a news conference. “There is not a stadium proposal on the table that we think addresses the long-term issues of the clubs in the communities. So we need to continue to work at it. As you know, we feel strongly we want to keep our teams where they are. Relocations are painful and they’re something we want to avoid at all costs. But that is something that we have to continue to work with those communities.”
The Chargers and their chairman, Dean Spanos, have until Jan. 15 to exercise their option to join the Rams in Los Angeles. That option was given to the Chargers by the owners in January when they ratified the Rams’ move from St. Louis to L.A.
The Rams are playing this season in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum while their new stadium in Inglewood is under construction.
The owners’ meeting was held Wednesday amid a strong belief within the league, according to people familiar with the NFL’s inner workings, that the Chargers are planning to exercise their L.A. option. But league officials reportedly also are weighing the possible use of creative measures, such as a team-friendly loan or an NFL investment in a new stadium in San Diego, to attempt to convince the franchise to stay put. If no resolution is reached by mid-January, it’s possible the deadline for the option could be extended.