There’s been a lot of chatter for quite some time now that the Rams, along with the Chargers, could be headed to Los Angeles. And they may very well be.
But the Raiders could be headed for St. Louis.
Yes, you read that correctly.
“Well, I think you got to look at the three teams, put them together and assess them in two groups,” NFL Network analyst Albert Breer said on CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show. “To me, you’ve got the group that’s LA-only – and that’s the Chargers and the Rams. The Rams are either going to St Louis or Los Angeles. The Chargers are either going to be in San Diego or Los Angeles. So really, when you look at the three teams, there’s only one really flexible piece – and that’s Oakland.
“So the way the dominoes fall here, it’ll be interesting to see because if the first domino is in fact the Rams – and I think right now there’s the highest likelihood of that happening, the Rams wind up in LA – well then you’ve basically closed off that market to the Raiders,” Breer continued. “Because at least in the short term, the league doesn’t want more than two teams in Southern California, so you have the Chargers probably staying in San Diego in the short term (and) maybe moving to LA long term. And that would leave the Raiders out there as the piece in Oakland.
“If you can’t get something down there, the likelihood is you’re going to have to move out of California. And right now, St. Louis is the team with the furthest advanced stadium project. If the league looks at St Louis and says, ‘This market hasn’t failed, but it makes sense for the Rams to go to LA because they’ve got the best project in Los Angeles,’ then you could kind of see where the dominoes would fall and the Raiders might be given a little nudge by the league to look at St. Louis.”
But how does the NFL view St. Louis? If the Rams do move, that would be a team skipping town yet again.
“Well, here’s what’s interesting about it,” Breer said. “This is the NFL’s dilemma: The project that (owner) Stan Kroenke has put together is far and away the best project that they’ve had in the 20 years since the Raiders and Rams left in the mid-90s. So you’ve got this project out there that’s on a 300-acre parcel of land. There’s a flexibility there to make it the headquarters for the NFL on the West Coast. You could put the NFL Network there. You got all kinds of other ancillary things you can put around it, you got the location – all of that.”
You’d also have an existing owner.
“That’s such a huge key – because in the past, it’s always been a third party,” Breer said. “You’ve got all these things going for the Rams’ project and what a slam dunk it looks like. The dilemma for the league is the best project is being run by the team that’s the least qualified under the relocation standards to move. The relocation standard is you have to prove your existing market has failed. Well, St. Louis hasn’t failed to the level that San Diego and Oakland have. And so, by the letter of that relocation criteria, the Chargers and Raiders should be first in line to move. The problem is, the best project is the Rams’ project. That’s where you’re going to see this looked at by the league as a mosaic – not as singular pieces.”
Breer said that of the three cities, St. Louis is the most deserving of an NFL team.
“I think if they do wind up losing the Rams to Los Angeles, you will see an effort by the league to get St. Louis back,” Breer said. “Because I don’t think they view this as St. Louis’ fault. Not that St. Louis has done everything they can over the last five or six years to get it done, but right down they’re doing what it takes. This is more circumstantial than anything else that St. Louis would be losing a team.”