Sean Payton feels confident Saints’ Alvin Kamara will play Week 1

Head coach Sean Payton spoke on Alvin Kamara after Wednesday’s practice. He said that he is planning on the Saints starting back being available for Week 1.

Three-time Pro Bowl running back Alvin Kamara was back at practice on Wednesday, but he certainly had Saints’ fans sweating for the last few days after the team was reportedly open to trading him.

The trade rumors came after the two sides were seemingly far apart on a new deal.

How far apart isn’t known, but as it appears, Kamara wants Christian McCaffrey-type money which is nearing $16 million per year. The Saints seemingly want to give anywhere between $12-14 million, if that.

Kamara had held out of the last three practices, although he was in the Saints’ facility during that time. It wasn’t the worst downhill turn between the two sides, and the negotiations feel civil as Kamara’s camp has said they haven’t demanded a trade.

That said, ESPN’s Field Yates reported that Sean Payton is planning to use Alvin Kamara is the team’s Week 1 matchup against the Tampa Bay Buccanneers. The two team’s first game of the season will be without fans.

Payton fielded these questions after practice. He dove into a plethora of other things, but most of the conversation centered around Kamara and what his contract situation is looking like after a packed last 48 hours.

Kamara is a necessary part of this offense and would completely change Payton’s gameplan if he’s absent. The dual-threat nature of Kamara’s game is unique and creates a different dynamic that teams must defend against.

Over the last three seasons, Kamara has averaged over 1,400 all-purpose yards. He’s been terrific throughout his career but struggled last season as he never truly overcame a Week 6 injury against the Jaguars.

Kamara could use the last year of his contract to prove himself, but he knows he’s already done that and can holdout in order to get the contract he desires. That said, there are some CBA punishments if he does holdout so that could also come into consideration.

Next: 6 Saints who could be traded before Week 1

For now, if Sean Payton expects him to play in Week 1, fans should as well, and we can live with that.