Alvin Kamara is also in the final year of his rookie deal, and there hasn’t been much news about the progress of talks with the New Orleans Saints. Less than two weeks before the season starts, there’s some big news.
Kamara has had three straight unexcused absences from practice and it is believed to be related to his contract, ESPN’s Adam Schefter said.
The Saints suddenly have a problem.
Alvin Kamara is sitting out of practice
Kamara has been of the best backs in football since entering the NFL, an explosive playmaker whose receiving skills make him a key piece of a great Saints offense.
He’s also underpaid. Kamara is on the final year of a four-year, $3.86 million deal. His base salary is $2.13 million this season. That’s far below market value for a back of his talent level.
The Saints would turn to Latavius Murray if this dispute lasts into the season. Murray is a good back but not as versatile as Kamara. New Orleans’ offense would really miss Kamara, and the Saints have Super Bowl dreams. They start with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 1, and that matchup is a crucial one in the NFC South.
But the Saints are paying a lot of players and they might be wary of the history of big running back extensions.
Will Saints pay Kamara?
The narrative is well-worn by now: It’s not that good running backs aren’t important, but they can generally be found later in the draft or cheap in free agency, and it’s common for teams to regret enormous extensions for backs. Kamara seems like an outlier, but many backs on the list of regrettable big extensions seemed like outliers when they got their deals.
Clearly, the Saints need Kamara to be at their best this season, and they have high hopes. If Kamara is set on sitting out until he gets a new deal, he puts New Orleans in a tough spot. It’s also not ideal for fantasy football players who drafted Kamara in the first round of recent drafts.
There’s not much time for the Saints to figure this out. And surely they want it settled before the Buccaneers come to town for the season opener.
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