IRVING, Texas — NFL owners began meeting Wednesday on potential relocation of teams to Los Angeles knowing that a vote is still a month or more away.
The St. Louis Rams, Oakland Raiders and San Diego Chargers are interested in moving to LA, which has not had an NFL franchise since the Rams and Raiders left after the 1994 season. Rams owner Stan Kroenke is planning a billion-dollar stadium in Inglewood, California, while the Raiders and Chargers have a joint project in mind for nearby Carson.
There are indications that Kroenke would be willing to share his proposed stadium with either the Chargers or Rams.
To get a team or two back to LA by the 2016 season, the league likely needs to make a decision in January or, at the latest, mid-February. The owners hope to set a vote deadline during these meetings for the teams to apply for relocation, and for the owners to vote on allowing either one or two clubs to move. No vote will be taken at any time if a stalemate is likely.
Relocation approval would require 24 of the 32 owners.
Houston Texans owner Robert McNair said there isn’t enough information yet on proposals from St. Louis and San Diego to keep their franchises for the owners to make any firm decisions. The NFL has not received a viable proposal from Oakland to keep the Raiders.
Kansas City Chiefs owner Clark Hunt sees these meetings as essential in figuring out just what to do about Los Angeles.
“It’ll certainly be an opportunity for the membership to learn more about the process and about the options for the teams in their existing markets and also their options in LA,” Hunt said.
The owners voted to allow compensatory draft picks to be traded beginning in 2017. In the past, those picks — awarded to teams for losing a certain number of free agents — have not been tradeable.
Also passed before the LA discussions began was a reduction in the window for player agents to contact teams about free agents. That goes from three days before the expiration of a player’s contract to two days.