Reports: Saints RB Kamara practices as contract, trade talks resume
Alvin Kamara returned to practice with the New Orleans Saints on Wednesday amid reports the two sides are talking about a contract extension.
Josina Anderson also reported Tuesday that a trade involving Kamara remains possible if a team offers top draft compensation.
Kamara was limited by injury in 2019 but played 14 regular-season games, totaling 1,330 yards from scrimmage. He has caught 81 passes in each of the three seasons since the Saints selected him in the third round of the 2017 NFL Draft.
The timing of a new deal for Kamara, and creating cash on demand, could be tricky for the Saints.
The Saints are projected to be more than $75 million over the 2021 salary cap, according to Spotrac.
The Minnesota Vikings and Dalvin Cook have been unable to complete a long-term deal as extension talks stalled around the demand to clear the $12 million threshold, according to reports.
The top-of-market price for running backs was reset in the offseason by the Carolina Panthers and Christian McCaffrey. The 24-year-old McCaffrey signed a four-year, $64 million deal with $38 million in guarantees.
Kamara, 25, is set to make $2.13 million this season in the final year of his rookie contract. He could be hit with the franchise tag in March, when he’s scheduled to enter unrestricted free agency. He is the 31st-highest-paid running back in the NFL, per Spotrac.
The cap-strapped Saints could be enticed by a trade to ease their budget and help build toward the future. Quarterback Drew Brees, who signed a two-year, $50 million deal in the offseason, is year-to-year in his age 41 season and structured his deal with base salary of $25 million next season. Brees has a $2 million base in 2020 but represents a cap hit of $23.65 million.
The 2021 free agent class is expected to be loaded at the position, including Cook, Aaron Jones (Packers), Todd Gurley (Falcons), Kenyan Drake (Cardinals), James Conner (Steelers), Kareem Hunt (Browns), Marlon Mack (Colts) and Phillip Lindsay (Broncos). The 2021 draft class is headlined by Clemson’s Travis Etienne, Oklahoma State’s Chuba Hubbard, Alabama’s Najee Harris and Memphis’ Kenneth Gainwell.
–Field Level Media