Contract Issue Prompts Alvin Kamara To Leave Saints Minicamp

The NFL’s restructure kingpins, the Saints have not touched Alvin Kamara‘s contract this offseason. Although the team has used the deal for cap savings in the past, the structure of the Pro Bowl running back’s deal points to 2024 serving as his de facto contract year.

Kamara’s five-year, $75MM extension runs through 2025, but the ’25 season features a nonguaranteed $22.4MM base salary that almost definitely will not be paid out. This situation brought a notable development Thursday. Kamara left the Saints’ facility before the team’s minicamp practice, per’s Nick Underhill, and’s Ian Rapoport confirms the exit came about because of a contract issue.

The sides have engaged in discussions about the deal this offseason, according to Underhill, but they have not made progress toward a solution. The eighth-year back is indeed seeking an extension,’s Jeff Duncan adds. Kamara, who will turn 29 next month, is attached to a $10.2MM base salary for the 2024 season.

During a rather bleak period for running back value, Kamara became one of the winners. The versatile back locked down a $15MM-per-year deal — albeit with a dummy final year in place to inflate the AAV — just before the 2020 season. In terms of per-year value, that contract matched Ezekiel Elliott‘s for second — behind Christian McCaffrey‘s Panthers-constructed extension — among running backs. Kamara has done well to remain on the pact, but he is now the only NFL RB still attached to a deal he signed in 2020.

The NFL’s eight-figure-per-year RB club sustained hits in recent years. Before bringing back Elliott this offseason, the Cowboys jettisoned his six-year, $90MM deal. The Vikings moved Dalvin Cook‘s five-year, $63MM contract off the books in May 2023. These cuts came during an offseason in which the Packers and Bengals, respectively, gave Aaron Jones and Joe Mixon pay cuts. Following a major knee injury, Nick Chubb accepted a Browns pay cut. Jones, Mixon and Derrick Henry relocated this year and are tied to lower-level deals; though, Mixon still secured eight figures guaranteed on his multiyear Texans pact.

The RB landscape has changed during Kamara’s contract, but unlike the wide receiver market, no value spike has taken place. Kamara’s AAV still sits second — behind McCaffrey’s new two-year, $38MM 49ers extension — though Jonathan Taylor has since signed a three-year, $42MM deal that does not feature a phony final-season number. Only five RBs are now tied to eight-figure AAVs, with one of those deals — Josh Jacobs‘ — containing only $12.5MM guaranteed at signing. Kamara has done well on this contract, though it is not difficult to envision the Saints shedding it from their payroll in 2025.

Kamara, who served a three-game suspension in connection with an assault incident, finished with a career-low 1,160 scrimmage yards last season. Kamara’s minus-99 rushing yards over expected represented the fourth-worst number, per Next Gen Stats, last season. Kamara also ranked in the bottom 10 in RYOE in 2022, when he scored just four touchdowns and fumbled four times. While Kamara served as a central part of the Saints’ success over Drew Brees‘ final four seasons, he has not stood out in the two years since Sean Payton‘s departure.

The Saints can create $25MM in cap savings next year by designating Kamara as a post-June 1 cut, with Duncan adding there is “no way” the Saints keep Kamara on this contract beyond 2024. Going into this season with a Saints-high $18.6MM cap number, Kamara is tied to $29.1MM figure in 2025. The five-time Pro Bowler faces a $17K fine for skipping today’s workout. The focus will now turn toward training camp, as Kamara would face $50K fines for each day missed.

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