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Alvin Kamara

Saints back looking for new contract

I see Alvin Kamara is angling for a new contract. I don’t get that. The way his play has slipped in recent years, I would think he’d be content to play for the $10.2 million his slated to make this season.

But Kamara left the team’s mandatory minicamp, and his agent confirmed to NFL insider Ian Rapoport that the departure was contract related. Jeremy Fowler of ESPN suggests that Kamara might not show up to training camp.

That’s hard to understand. Kamara turns 29 in less than a month, and he’s not the back he’s been in the past. If the Saints were to release him, I don’t think he’d be able to find another team that would pay him close to $10 million. Dalvin Cook might be pretty similar to Kamara right now, and he’s looking for work.

While Kamara has been a great, McCaffrey-type run-catch back, he’s also slipping. He averaged 5.0 yards per carry in his first four seasons, with 59 touchdowns in 60 games. He’s averaged only 3.7, 4.0 and 3.9 yards per attempt the last three years, with 19 touchdowns in 41 games.

Kamara doesn’t have the same elite explosiveness. He had touchdown runs of 40-plus yards in each of his first three season; his long run last year was only 17 yards.

Kamara caught 75 passes last year, but too many of them were short dumpoffs that didn’t go anywhere. He averaged only 6.2 yards per catch, 4 yards less than he averaged back in his rookie year.

All five of Kamara’s Pro Bowls came in his first five seasons. (And speaking of Pro Bowls, there was that assault issue in Las Vegas, with Kamara leaving the team over a barrel for the first three weeks of last season while he served a league suspension.) He’s not a guy who deserves a raise.

All of which makes this potential holdout more intriguing. He’s one of the two players the team has featured on the banner of every page of its website. That implies that the team views him as one of its key guys. But it can’t be excited about being shaken down for a bigger piece of the pie from a declining player.

The revised labor agreement makes it riskier for Kamara to hold out. If he’s not there when camp opens, there will be daily fines, and league rules state those fines can’t be waived by the team. If the Saints were to release him, it would result in an $18.2 million dead cap charge (per Spotrac).

Kamara’s contact definitely will need to be adjusted prior to the 2025 season. The Spotrac figures say Kamara has a base salary of $22.4 million next year, which is dramatically more than he’s worth.

I’m not sure how this one will play out, but it’s definitely one I’ll be keeping an eye on. At this point, I’m a lot more interested in selecting Kendre Miller with a later-round pick, rather than Kamara in the early rounds. (Miller played well enough in their Week 18 game last year that I wonder if he might simply be better than Kamara right now.)

Kamara numbers appear below. There's a lot of decline across the board.


—Ian Allan

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