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Will Raiders make their move to land a franchise QB at NFL meetings?

Updated March 28, 2024 - 7:02 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. — Deals will be consummated, rules will be reviewed and the Raiders might even welcome a new limited owner when the NFL meetings begin Sunday.

It will be an eventful week and might even be the catalyst for the Raiders to move up in the draft and select the franchise-caliber quarterback that has eluded them for years.

Here are three things to watch for this week from the Ritz-Carlton &JW Marriott Grande Lakes:

1. Groundwork for a trade?

With every team’s top decision-makers, including Raiders general manager Tom Telesco, in the same hotel for the next four days, the meetings are ripe for wheeling and dealing.

The Bears locked in on Southern California quarterback Caleb Williams at No. 1 in the draft, so the Commanders (No. 2), Patriots (3) and Cardinals (4) hold the cards.

It’s no secret the Raiders have a deep connection to Louisiana State quarterback Jayden Daniels. Raiders coach Antonio Pierce recruited Daniels out of high school to Arizona State, where he was the defensive coordinator and recruiting coordinator, and they remain close. It makes sense that the Raiders have a sincere interest in Daniels and are motivated to move up in the draft to select him.

Pierce is a critical piece in all this. A self-described “go-getter,” he made it clear he will not hesitate to be aggressive to obtain what he deems necessary for the Raiders to succeed. Telesco understands his role in building a team in the image of his coach, so expect him to be aggressive in fulfilling those needs.

2. Brady’s bid

For nearly a year, Tom Brady and Raiders owner Mark Davis have discussed Brady purchasing a limited partnership stake in the franchise. The matter was expected to be voted on this week by owners but remains off the agenda.

Brady is teaming with Tom Wagner, the co-founder of Knighthead Capital Management, to buy what is believed to be a 10 percent stake. But reservations have been expressed within the NFL’s finance committee about the potential deal.

An NFL spokesman said “the matter remains under review by the financing committee.”

So, what exactly is the holdup?

One possible snag is the price point Davis and Brady are discussing, according to a person with knowledge of the situation.

Selling at a significant discount relative to the Raiders’ $6.2 billion valuation could hurt other owners’ chances of maximizing similar limited partnership sales of their clubs.

Also, when the Raiders, Rams and Chargers received permission to relocate their teams in 2016 and 2017, they agreed to an NFL-mandated flip-tax stipulation in which fellow owners got a piece of the sales prices. The owners could want Davis to sell at a higher price point to maximize their 10 percent cut of the gross sale.

There’s also the matter of Brady joining Fox Sports this season as an analyst, which could raise apprehension among owners about a conflict of interest. As a lead game analyst, he would participate in pregame meetings with coaches and players and be privy to sensitive information.

Whatever the case, Brady’s ownership stake is expected to come up this week. And, with it, an update on why some in the NFL still have reservations.

3. Rule changes

The NFL’s competition committee will discuss a handful of rule change proposals, highlighted by one that would significantly change kickoffs and another that would heavily penalize the hip-drop tackle.

If approved, the proposed new kickoff rules will be in place for one year and include new alignments for the coverage and receiving teams. A “landing zone” will be created between the receiving team’s goal line and 20-yard line. If the ball lands in that area, the play participation of everyone but the kicker and two return men will be determined.

The kicker would strike the ball at his 35-yard line, the same as now, but his 10 teammates would line up 25 yards downfield at the receiving team’s 40-yard line. The bulk of the receiving team would line up in a 5-yard “setup zone” between its 35- and 30-yard lines, with a maximum of two returners lined up in the “landing zone.”

Outside of the kicker and return men, no player can move until the ball touches either a return man or the ground in the landing or end zones.

On any kickoffs that reach the end zone and are downed, sail or roll out of the back of the end zone, the receiving team will get the ball at its 35-yard line.

All kickoffs that fall into the landing zone must be returned. If a ball hits the ground in the landing zone and rolls into the end zone, the kick must be returned or downed. If it’s downed after bouncing from the landing zone to the end zone, the receiving team gets the ball at the 20-yard line.

On any kickoff that falls short of the landing zone, the receiving team will receive the ball at its 40-yard line.

If approved, onside kicks would fall under the new rules. But only teams that are trailing in the fourth quarter would be permitted to utilize the onside kick, and the kicking team would have to alert the receiving team that an onside kick is coming.

In trying to decrease the injury factor of a dangerous tackling technique, the NFL will contemplate a new rule that would levy a 15-yard penalty and an automatic first down for a “hip-drop tackle.”

Per the proposal, the infraction is defined as a tackler grabbing “the runner with both hands or wrapping the runner with both arms and unweighting himself by swiveling and dropping his hips and/or lower body, landing on and trapping the runner’s legs at or below the knee.”

Contact Vincent Bonsignore atvbonsignore@reviewjournal.com. Follow @VinnyBonsignore on X.

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