- Covered Saints for eight years at New Orleans Times-Picayune
- Previously covered LSU football, San Francisco 49ers
- Iowa native and University of Iowa graduate
METAIRIE, La. — The New Orleans Saints and running back Alvin Kamara are finalizing a five-year, $75 million contract extension, sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter on Saturday.
The deal is worth a total of $77.133 million for six seasons and includes $34.333 million in guaranteed money, sources told Schefter.
Although negotiations got tense late in training camp, when Kamara was an unexcused absence for four days and a source confirmed the Saints were open to the possibility trading him, the two sides ultimately found middle ground heading into the final year of his rookie contract.
Now the Saints are close to securing a huge piece of their offense for the second year in a row after signing wide receiver Michael Thomas to a long-term extension last summer.
Kamara, 25, was the NFL’s Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2017 after being drafted in the third round out of Tennessee. Since then, he has been one of the league’s most dynamic dual threats as a runner and receiver with a total of 2,408 rushing yards, 2,068 receiving yards and 38 touchdowns.
He has exactly 81 catches in each of his first three seasons — despite missing two games last year and being hampered by knee and ankle injuries over the final half of the season.
That extra value that Kamara brings in the receiving game made the Saints feel better about investing in him long-term despite the daunting salary-cap situation they are about to face in 2021 and beyond.
Furthermore, they are nearing the ends of contracts with fellow standouts like linebacker Demario Davis, cornerback Marshon Lattimore, offensive tackles Ryan Ramczyk and Terron Armstead and safety Marcus Williams.
This has been a busy offseason when it comes to lucrative running back extensions around the league. McCaffrey, Derrick Henry, Joe Mixon and Dalvin Cook also reached long-term deals with their respective clubs.
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