Protracted contract extension talks between star running back Alvin Kamara and his New Orleans Saints came to a stunning culmination on Saturday, one day before the team’s season opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
According to multiple media reports, the Saints have signed Kamara to a five-year, $75 million contract extension that includes a $15 million signing bonus.
The break down of this extension is stunning.
- A total of $75 million in overall value. That ranks second behind Dallas Cowboys star Ezekiel Elliott among NFL running backs.
- A total of $15 million annually. This is tied for second in NFL history among running backs, behind the recently-extended Christian McCaffrey.
To be clear, Kamara is more than worth the money. A third-round pick of the New Orleans Saints back in 2017, this Tennessee product is averaging nearly 1,500 total yards and 12 touchdowns at a clip of 6.1 yards per touch throughout his three-year NFL career.
The massive contract extension will also have wide-ranging ramifications throughout the league at running back. Here’s why.
Aaron Jones contract situation with the Green Bay Packers
- Another 2017 NFL Draft pick, this Green Bay Packers star is coming off a 2019 season that saw him lead NFL running backs with 19 total touchdowns. Jones also put up north of 1,500 total yards at a clip of 5.5 yards per touch.
- Jones is set to hit free agency following the 2020 season and will want to be among the five highest-paid running backs in the NFL.
- As for the Packers, they just recently selected quarterback Jordan Love in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft. If he is to eventually take over for Aaron Rodgers under center, the small-school product will need a robust running game. That ups the ante in Green Bay big time.
NFL running back contracts
While this position has been a bit slow compared to others as it relates to resetting the market, running backs are now getting paid big time.
It’s interesting given how interchangeable some teams view this position. It also tells us a story of young backs likely wanting to be paid big time moving forward.
- Christian McCaffrey: Four years, $64.06 million
- Ezekiel Elliott: Six years, $90 million
- Alvin Kamara: Five years, $75 million
- Le’Veon Bell: Four years, $52.5 million
- David Johnson: Three years, $39 million
It’s all going to depend on how teams view the running back position. Some might be like the defending NFC champion San Francisco 49ers and believe that the scheme is the biggest aspect to success. Others see players such as Christian McCaffrey as transcendent talents.
All of this could very well have a major impact on Giants star running back Saquon Barkley once he’s eligible for an extension following the 2020 season. The former NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year will likely want to reset the market completey.
Kamara’s extension will have wide-ranging implications on Barkley’s talks with the Giants and other young running backs as they look to cash in.