New Orleans Saints: Alvin Kamara’s contract holdout is just history repeating itself
Running back Alvin Kamara wants a contract extension and has done more than enough for the New Orleans Saints to have earned a huge payday.
The 5-foot-10-inch, 215-pound athlete was a steal in the 2017 NFL Draft as a third-round pick from the University of Tennessee. Alvin Kamara has been one of the best for the Saints since his arrival three years ago.
At the time, New Orleans had just signed free agent running back Adrian Peterson and also possessed a solid starting halfback in Mark Ingram, making the selection of Kamara seem like head coach Sean Payton wanted another riser in the backfield.
Payton had worked with dependable and versatile backs in the past, including Reggie Bush, Darren Sproles, and Pierre Thomas, in which the Saints picked opposing defenses apart with a plethora of unheralded weapons in the team’s arsenal.
Kamara quickly burst onto the scene as the next sensation in the NFL, winning the league’s Offensive Rookie of the Year Award, making the Pro Bowl, and earning honors for the Second Team All-Pro squad.
In 2017, Kamara posted 728 rushing yards with eight touchdowns and 826 receiving yards and five touchdowns, not to mention he added a kickoff-return touchdown to cap off a stellar rookie campaign.
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In 2018, he would rush for 883 yards and 14 touchdowns plus receive for 709 yards and four touchdowns, earning another trip to the Pro Bowl.
However, in 2019, Kamara would miss two games due to nagging injuries, and critics doubted the star could stay relatively healthy and productive like in his first two seasons in the Big Easy.
He would cap off the season with 797 yards on the ground and five scores and added 533 yards receiving plus a score, which was his worst year statistically in his brief NFL career despite earning another Pro Bowl nod.
Now in 2020, Kamara has reportedly held out for a new contract, similar to wide receiver Michael Thomas in 2019 when he wanted to be the highest-paid receiver in the league.
Thomas got his wish and inked a deal with New Orleans for a five-year, $100 million contract, including $61 million guaranteed. Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones topped Thomas in earnings per season when he signed a three-year, $66 million contract extension as the 2019 season was underway.
Back to Kamara, his position of running back has always been a risky business in contract negotiations. What is plausible so far is that neither Kamara nor his agent wants this holdout to result in a trade.
Even though there are pundits who have pointed out that free-agent running backs like Leonard Fournette and Peyton Barber, to name a few, the Saints will be able to land a deal with Kamara.
Kamara, as of Sept. 1, is only going to make around $2.13 million in base salary in 2020, the last year on his four-year, $3.86 million rookie contract.
In comparison, Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey signed a lucrative extension this offseason for a four-year, $64 million deal, and Kamara will be aiming for around that mark.
Saints general manager Mickey Loomis would have to somehow make Kamara’s new extension be cap-friendly for what looks to be a final Super Bowl push, but the huge downside is that New Orleans will be stricken with salary cap troubles for quite a while after 2020.
Kamara will more than likely get signed to a profitable extension, and the New Orleans Saints will have every piece on their collective chessboard satisfied, focused, and loaded to try and snag another Lombardi Trophy.