The NFL season will soon be here and FantasySports.co.uk will be previewing the upcoming season as the 32 NFL teams battle to participate in Superbowl 52, held for the second time at the US Bank Stadium, Minneapolis, Minnesota next February. Here, we catch up on the main stories of the close season so far.
DEREK CARR – HIGHEST PAID PLAYER OF ALL TIME
The Oakland Raiders shocked the NFL world by announcing that Quarterback Derek Carr had been signed to a new five year contract that totalled $125 million, eclipsing the previous record held by Indianapolis Colts QB Andrew Luck by one million dollars.
Carr was drafted by the Raiders in 2014, taken in the second round by the then ailing Oakland side, who had just finished their season with a woeful 4-12 record. But in three seasons he has been the focal point of the Raiders offense, and helped them to the playoffs last time for the first time since 2002, the last time the franchise also appeared in a Superbowl. Carr suffered a broken leg and wasn’t able to play in their playoff loss to the Houston Texans, but his record over the seasons, backed up by 81 TD passes compared to just 31 interceptions over those three seasons was enough for Oakland to pay him $25 million guaranteed per season across the next 5 years.
It will be of huge interest to see how Carr can shoulder this huge contract as he looks to lead his exciting young team into the playoffs, surely as a minimum, and, they will hope, a Superbowl or two also.
LAS VEGAS TO GET NFL TEAM
The Raiders were also heavily in the news when it was announced that their franchise would, once again, relocate itself. Having switched itself from Oakland to Los Angeles and then back to Oakland, they confirmed that they will be moving to Las Vegas, Nevada, and are having a new stadium built, with aim for it to be ready for the 2020 season, being situated near the Las Vegas Strip.
Las Vegas has long sought an NFL franchise to base itself in their famous city, but the NFL has always resisted because of the Nevada state’s relaxed gambling laws. However, when Oakland put the vote to the NFL owners, they got a 31-1 success, after demonstrating they had the funds secured to build the stadium and infrastructure, as well as seeing a huge fan base potential in a state starved from professional sports.
It will be tremendously exciting to see ‘Fabulous Las Vegas’ get an NFL team….lets hope the Raiders can find their home there and stay there, which they and their fans really deserve.
CHARGERS LEAVE SAN DIEGO
With the Rams back in Los Angeles, the Raiders in Oakland but soon to be Las Vegas, another Californian team have decided to rehouse itself – the San Diego Chargers are now the Los Angeles Chargers, having exercised their option to relocate. The Chargers will initially play in the StubHub Center, with the Rams playing at the Los Angeles Memorial Stadium, long time home of the Raiders. However, in 2020. the Chargers will ground share with the Rams at a new ground currently under construction in Inglewood, CA.
The main reason for the move has been necessity for the Chargers to upgrade their stadium, and the lack of funding available in San Diego, compared to L.A. where there was much more potential for the Bolts to be rehoused and, of more relevance to the owners than the San Diego natives, reach out to a new and potentially bigger fan base to generate more income. The sharing of the Inglewood facility will be a huge benefit for the franchise – what they lose in identity will be made up for in profits.
On the gridiron, the team is in a state of flux. Veteran QB Philip Rivers remains competent but inconsistent, and the Bolts have never truly recovered from the loss of legendary running back Ladanian Tomlinson. The team is somehow fitting for a franchise struggling to become settled.
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