Professional football will be in Las Vegas in 2020 — and not just the Raiders.
The Spring League, a developmental football league, will play the first four games of its season in Las Vegas at Sam Boyd Stadium. The league markets itself as analogous to the NBA’s D-League for the NFL, giving players a chance to hone their skills so that they may eventually sign with a team at the highest level.
While the league itself cites its credentials with former NFL players like quarterback Johnny Manziel and defensive end Greg Hardy — both of whom remain unsigned by the NFL because of off-the-field issues — most players do not necessarily go on to have much success in the biggest pro sport in America. Instead, players tend to sign with CFL teams, if they’re signed at all.
NFL teams, however, do tend to at least request the film of players in The Spring League, with its website noting that 28 of the 32 teams did so for the 2018 season.
The Raiders have taken a flyer on a few players from The Spring League — including wide receiver Griff Whalen, tight end Paul Butler and offensive lineman Cameron Hunt — though none have panned out into becoming even minor contributors.
The Spring League is in its fourth season, with four teams playing a pair of games at one central location to aid in the scouting process for all teams. Last year, the games were held in Austin, Texas, in April. This year, the league will hold two games March 7 and another two games on March 11.
The league also will hold an exhibition matchup between players from the four teams against the Japan National Team at the Cowboys’ headquarters in Frisco, Texas, on March 1.