Would Mark Davis take $2B to sell the Raiders to help the NFL fill its LA market? (USATSI)
Would Mark Davis take $2B to sell the Raiders to help the NFL fill its LA market? (USATSI)

With the sale of the Buffalo Bills to the Pegula family set to be voted through in a matter of weeks for $1.4 billion, there is considerable attention being paid by NFL officials to the plight of the Raiders.

They still face a highly uncertain stadium situation with their lease in Oakland expiring after the season and the team no longer interested in going year-to-year there. League sources said the NFL now believes the Raiders could generate $2 billion or more if sold, and, selling the team remains the most likely path for a move to Los Angeles.

The NFL will be very careful about who gets that Los Angeles market, and Raiders owner Mark Davis has limitations in real estate, marketing and overall business expertise. Convincing Davis to take a few billion to sell the team to one of the league's short-list of owners-in-waiting -- a list headlined by Larry Ellison, sources said -- would be one way to fast-track getting to that market.

Otherwise, the Raiders remain in a difficult conundrum with the landscape for a new deal in northern California bleak and other options like San Antonio having their own economic limitations. Given the league's overall desire to be in Los Angeles (and the fact San Antonio is hardly a market where other owners are clamoring for games to be played), cajoling Davis to sell the team would solve a lot of problems in one fell swoop, though obviously that decision only could be made by him.

There are numerous people around the league more or less waiting for the Rams, whose lease in St. Louis also is up after the season, to announce an intent to move by the February deadline to do so. And Commissioner Roger Goodell has made it clear the league views Los Angeles as a two-team town. Of course, getting their first tends to have significant positive ramifications for sponsorships, naming rights, etc. The sense of urgency about the LA market is at a more fevered pitch than it has been for quite some time, and the behind-the-scenes machinations won't subside soon.

Even without a stadium solution, selling the Raiders to someone equipped to get them to LA would ensure the price tag gets where the league wants it to be, and some wonder if at some point the headaches and tribulations of trying to get a new stadium eventually would lead to Davis going that route.