It looks like Jon Gruden is going to rack up some frequent flier miles during his first season as coach of the Raiders. If you missed the Gruden news, CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora reported on Friday that the Raiders are set to sign the Super Bowl-winning coach to an astronomical 10-year deal that's expected to be worth nearly $100 million.
According to ESPN.com, the Raiders have agreed to give up a home game in 2018 to play in London. The move means Gruden will be going international in his first year back with the Raiders. The game shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone. Raiders owner Mark Davis has been more than willing to relocate home games over the past few years due to the tenuous stadium situation in Oakland.
The Raiders have "hosted" an international game in three of the past four seasons with one game in London (2014) and two games in Mexico City (2016, 2017). The team will likely continue to play at least one international game until their move to Las Vegas goes through, which is expected to happen in 2020.
Although the Raiders are being sent to England in 2018, that doesn't mean they won't be making any more trips to Mexico City. As one of the most popular teams in Mexico, the Raiders will likely return at some point in the near future, and that return could come as soon as 2019, according to ESPN.com.
The NFL and Mexico City currently have a deal to play games in the capital of Mexico through the 2021 season.
With the Raiders out in Mexico, it appears that the Rams will be taking their place. After dealing with the 10-hour flight that comes with traveling from Los Angeles to London in each of the past two seasons, the Rams requested to play their international game in Mexico City in 2018, according to ESPN.com. The Rams will likely be playing at least one international game per season until they make the move to their new stadium, which is expected to happen in 2020.
As for the Raiders, if you're trying to read the tea leaves to figure out who they might play in London, don't be surprised if it ends up being the Seahawks.
NFL UK managing director Alistair Kirkwood recently told ESPN.com that the league's goal is to make sure all 32 teams play in London, and right now, there are only six teams that haven't made the trip: Green Bay, Carolina, Philadelphia, Seattle, Tennessee and Houston.
Of those six teams, only the Seahawks are on Oakland's home schedule in 2018. The Raiders' home schedule also consists of the Chiefs, Broncos, Chargers, Browns, Steelers, Colts and Rams.
"[There is] a desire to try to get the other six teams that haven't been over as well," Kirkwood said. "It's not the be-all and end-all, but you kind of like to get closer to have all 32 teams over. That seems like a really nice narrative."
As for the Rams, their home schedule consists of the Seahawks, 49ers, Cardinals, Packers, Vikings, Eagles, Chiefs and Chargers, and it wouldn't be shocking to see the Packers or Eagles sent to Mexico since neither team has ever played an international regular-season game. It also could be neither of those teams.
One report out of Mexico has suggested that the Chiefs will be traveling south of the border in 2018 to play the Rams.
Of course, we won't know anything until the NFL officially announces it. For now, you can check out the 2018 opponents for all 32 teams by clicking here. The regular-season schedule is expected to be released in April.