Could Saints trade star RB Alvin Kamara?

By Matt Johnson
Derick Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Alvin Kamara has become one of the NFL’s best all-purpose running backs since he arrived in the league. As the 24-year-old nears free agency with an opportunity to cash in, could the Saints consider trading him instead of giving him a massive contract?

Kamara will almost certainly be seeking to become one of the NFL’s highest-paid running backs with his next contract. Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey set the bar with his record deal and it could represent Kamara’s target in contract talks.

Given the recent history of sizable deals for running backs routinely not working out, with many organizations moving on from their former star just a few years into his deal, the Saints might potentially explore trading Kamara.

ESPN’s Mike Triplett, who covers the Saints, wrote on Tuesday that the idea of the Saints trading Kamara can’t be ruled out. The team’s history of trading stars seeking big contracts, including Brandin Cooks and Jimmy Graham, demonstrates the team’s willingness to trade stars.

McCaffrey will make $16 million annually under his new deal, joining Ezekiel Elliott ($15 million) and Le’Veon Bell ($13.1 million) among the league’s highest-paid players at the position.

While Kamara had a disappointing season in 2019, he has racked up 2,408 rushing yards, 2,068 receiving yards and 38 total touchdowns in his career. Given his skills as a receiving back, 80-plus receptions in each of the first three seasons, Kamara could easily aim for $14-plus million annually in a new deal.

Given the Saints are only projected to have $12.5 million in cap space next offseason, per Over the Cap, spending will need to be tight. The team might keep him in its short-term plans, but it now seems likelier that his days in New Orleans might be numbered.