When the St. Louis Rams' triumphant return to Los Angeles was announced earlier this month, word also came down that the NFL had given the San Diego Chargers the option to leave SD and join the Rams in their fancy new stadium in Inglewood. The two teams have been meeting, presumably to discuss the matter, but have been super hush-hush about it, putting out a two-sentence statement (why bother?) basically saying they're not talking about their talks. Mum was the word until today, when it was reported in the LA Daily News that the Chargers had an agreement "in principle" to come to LA in the next year, BUT were hunkering down in San Diego for the 2016 season.
In the absence of the Chargers exercising their option to move to L.A., the deal with the Rams is the equivalent of a hotel reservation.— Nathan Fenno (@nathanfenno) January 29, 2016
Coming to LA in principle? What does that even mean? Apparently, it means, "You're getting a second chance, San Diego, don't blow it." In a statement, Chargers' owner Dean Spanos says he has hopes "for the long term in a new stadium" in San Diego and that he's "looking at this with a fresh perspective and new sense of possibility." He added that yeah, sure, they kind of still have plans to leave SD, "but my focus is on San Diego."
Not moving this year will only make it harder for Chargers to move next year. I read it as a good sign for the long-term future in SD.— Sam Farmer (@LATimesfarmer) January 29, 2016
Though the Chargers are clearly staying put for the 2016 season, it seems like they're not just blowing hot air about moving away; they're making some backup plans in case they end up heading to Los Angeles, where they'd likely be tenants at the Inglewood stadium. The OC Register reports that the Chargers have filed plans with the city of Santa Ana to build an interim training facility and team headquarters there, to be used "in the event the team exercises its option to relocate to the Los Angeles area," according to a statement from the Chargers.
The Chargers have a lot of time to make something happen in San Diego or hit the road: they can take advantage of the offer to move to LA until January 15, 2017, and, says the San Diego Union-Tribune, "If they get a stadium initiative approved this year, that deadline could be extended to 2018 to allow for legal challenges or a second election, if necessary." San Diego's mayor has previously said that the city is open to negotiating with the team, even if they're simultaneously planning to leave.
· Chargers, Rams agree in principle on deal, but will play 2016 in San Diego [LADN]
· Chargers to stay in San Diego for at least 2016 [SDUT]
· Chargers plan for interim training site in Santa Ana if they relocate to Inglewood [OCR]
· The Rams and Chargers Put Out a Super Weird Joint Statement [Curbed LA]