Trouble is brewing between the Saints and Alvin Kamara. The talented running back wants a new contract before he returns to training camp.
Any chances the Saints have of being legitimate Super Bowl contenders in 2020 depend on Alvin Kamara being a dangerous weapon in their offensive backfield. It will be hard for them to get production from Kamara if he isn’t willing to play.
Adam Schefter of ESPN is now reporting that Kamara has missed three days of training camp for the Saints. Per the report, the absences are “unexcused” and are believed to be tied to the player’s dissatisfaction with his current contract.
Kamara is slated to make slightly over $2 million during the 2020 season in the final year of his rookie contract. The production he gives the Saints in both their rushing attack and the passing game makes him worth significantly more. The question he and the Saints must agree on now is how much more valuable his production makes him.
Paying running backs big money in the modern NFL is fraught with danger. The Rams gave Todd Gurley a massive contract and were forced to release him rather than continue to pay him a large portion of their salary cap. On Monday, the Jaguars opted to release former No. 4 overall pick Leonard Fournette rather than pay him over $4 million for the final season of his rookie contract.
On the other hand, Kamara can point to another back inside the NFC South to be the model for him getting paid. The Panthers gave Christian McCaffrey a huge deal this offseason because of his ability to run the ball and make plays in the passing game. Kamara has a similar skill set. He didn’t enter the NFL with the same pre-draft pedigree that McCaffrey did but he’s given New Orleans more team success during his professional career.
It’s unlikely that the Saints will break the bank for Kamara, but they can’t afford to go into the 2020 season without him in their starting lineup. He may need a new deal to help Drew Brees try to win one last Super Bowl in New Orleans.