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OFFICIAL: Chargers Receive Option to Move to Los Angeles

The NFL Owners have decided. The Rams are moving back to Los Angeles, eventually to their stadium in Inglewood. As for the Chargers, they get a 1 year option to join them if they so wish.

Stuck in San Diego, for now.
Stuck in San Diego, for now.
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

It turned out Dean Spanos didn't get the coronation he thought he might get.

In fact, given everything which has happened over the last 12 months, it has to be close to the worst possible option. The Chargers did not get approval to move to Los Angeles, and build their stadium at the Carson site. In fact, they were defeated by a 30-2 marginThe Rams, and the Inglewood site, are the way forward in Los Angeles.

The Chargers got an option to join the Rams in Inglewood.

That's the worst possible outcome in some respects for Spanos. His options are to choose between the market he nuked, and making a deal with an owner he distrusts in a stadium he hates.

A Brief Primer On The Deal

Here's Dean's written statement following the conclusion of the deal:

My goal from the start of this process was to create the options necessary to safeguard the future of the Chargers franchise while respecting the will of my fellow NFL owners. Today we achieved this goal with the compromise reached by NFL ownership. The Chargers have been approved to relocate to Los Angeles, at the Inglewood location, at any time in the next year. In addition, the NFL has granted an additional $100 million in assistance in the event there is a potential solution that can be placed before voters in San Diego. I will be working over the next several weeks to explore the options that we have now created for ourselves to determine the best path forward for the Chargers. - Dean Spanos 1/12/16

First of all, Dean doesn't have forever to decide. The Chargers have a one-year option to join the Rams in Los Angeles, after which the option reverts to the Raiders.

On the other hand, if they're able to work out a deal in San Diego, they will get an extra $100 million dollars if they stay (as will the Raiders in Oakland).

San Diego can't remotely consider themselves out of the woods. The odds are still probably higher that Spanos decides to join Kroenke in Inglewood, simply because of the potential for additional revenue. That however, requires Spanos to set aside his differences with Kroenke, his frequent disparaging of the Inglewood site, and agree to be whatever offer Kroenke presents. According to Ian Rapoport:

As it pertains to San Diego, Dean has been sent back with maximum leverage, if he even chooses to exercise it.

If San Diego City officials have even the slightest desire to keep the Chargers in San Diego, then it behooves them to get together with Spanos, determine precisely what it is he wants, and then get to work - Chargers Special Counsel Mark Fabiani has also indicated that the team will be looking at a possible Citizen's initiative for San Diego, which would be placed on the ballot in November.

Dean may simply decide it's not worth his time to try to make a deal in San Diego, hold his nose, and make a deal with Kroenke anyway. According to theses tweets by KGTV 10's Ben Higgins, Chargers Special Counsel Mark Fabiani has already indicated negotiations with Kroenke will start immediately.

At the end of the day, the decision on whether San Diego gets a chance to keep the Chargers hinges on what whatever deal Kroenke offers, and whether Dean thinks he can get what he wants in San Diego.

For what's worth, Mayor Kevin Faulconer reiterated his offer to work with the Chargers:

Lastly, the Chargers have to make a decision between February 1st and May 1st on whether they will be exiting their lease with San Diego and Qualcomm Stadium.

In Closing

San Diego has a pulse. Nothing more.

It will be determined within the next 30 days if San Diego has an actual opportunity to keep the Chargers. If yes, it will almost certainly be geared toward the Chargers' preferred option downtown.

On the other hand, if the Chargers have even the slightest indication that there's nothing in San Diego that can be done - or even if the offer to go to Inglewood is too financially appealing, they will be gone within a month.

There's a lot to do, and not a lot of time to do it.