Alvin Kamara

NFC Notes: Giants, Panthers, Seahawks

The Seahawks waived rookie fourth-round pick Gary Jennings earlier this week, and many immediately speculated the Dolphins would claim the young receiver. That’s exactly what happened, and Miami was awarded the West Virginia product. If they hadn’t submitted a claim Jennings wouldn’t have tumbled very far though, as the Giants put in a claim for him as well, a source told Field Yates of ESPN.com (Twitter link). The Giants are obviously toward the top of the waiver priority, and just barely missed him. With Sterling Shepard on the shelf for the foreseeable future, their interest makes plenty of sense. Jennings never appeared in a game for Seattle, and will likely see some run with the Dolphins, especially after Preston Williams‘ ACL tear.

Here’s more from the NFC on a quiet Friday night:

  • Even without Cam Newton the Panthers are right in the thick of the playoff race, so they have to start thinking about some late-season moves. Carolina is apparently looking for a boost to their receiving corp, as the team plans on using one of their two injured reserve-return slots on receiver Chris Hogan, according to Jourdan Rodrigue of The Athletic. Rodrigue notes that Hogan was out on the practice field on Wednesday. Hogan only had three catches through four games with his new team before getting put on IR.
  • Speaking of late-season returns, Seahawks rookie Demarcus Christmas won’t be making one. Seattle declined to activate the defensive lineman off the PUP list meaning he will miss the rest of the season, according to Bob Condotta of The Seattle Times (Twitter link). The Seahawks drafted the Florida State product in the sixth-round back in April, and he’ll officially be getting a redshirt year. Since he’s on PUP he isn’t allowed to practice, which means he’ll have a lot of catching up to do as he tries to crack the team next offseason.
  • Alvin Kamara is officially back. Saints head coach Sean Payton announced Thursday that he expects to have his star running back on the field when New Orleans hosts the Falcons. Kamara has missed his team’s past two games as he dealt with knee and ankle issues. This will be the first time that Drew Brees and Kamara have shared the field since back in Week 2.

 

NFC Rumors: Saints, Slay, Adams, Eagles

Sean Payton did not name his Week 8 starting quarterback, indicating a decision on Drew Brees‘ Week 8 status will not come until at least Saturday. The Saints‘ starting quarterback has lobbied to play Sunday against the Cardinals and worked in three limited practices this week. The future Hall of Fame quarterback has fared well in his workout sessions available to the media this week, per The Athletic’s Katherine Terrell, who would be surprised if Brees didn’t start this week (Twitter link). Brees has missed the past five Saints games with a thumb injury; Teddy Bridgewater has piloted the team to five wins in that span. New Orleans has a bye next week, so it still wouldn’t be too shocking if Brees was held out until Week 10.

Here’s more from the NFC:

  • Alvin Kamara worked in a limited capacity twice this week. Listed as questionable, the Saints running back may also see the team’s upcoming bye week affect his status. Kamara is battling an ankle injury, which sidelined him last week.
  • Lions players were not thrilled that the team traded away locker room favorite Quandre Diggs, and Darius Slay was especially vocal about his displeasure. Slay, whose contract expires after the 2020 season, has previously said that he wants to remain in Detroit long-term. However, his tone changed this week when asked about the subject. “Anybody can get traded. I personally wouldn’t care,” Slay said of the possibility of the team trading him (via Pro Football Talk).
  • The Lions’ Week 8 injury report indicates the world will have to wait for a Darius Slay-Darius Slayton matchup. Detroit’s top cornerback will miss the Lions-Giants game due to a hamstring injury. Slay has battled this issue since Week 3. Second-year UDFA Mike Ford started in Slay’s place against the Chiefs, the one game the Pro Bowler missed, and will likely do so against New York.
  • Davante Adams looks set to miss a fourth game due to the turf toe issue he’s encountered. The Packers declared their top wide receiver doubtful to face the Chiefs. Green Bay’s bye is not until Week 11. This continues to be a situation to monitor for one of the NFC favorites.
  • Recently released by the struggling Eagles, Orlando Scandrick believes he was scapegoated for the team’s woes, as Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer relays (Twitter link). “The problem in Philadelphia is much, much deeper than me,” Scandrick said. The Eagles have released the veteran cornerback twice this year.

Chris Crouse contributed to this report.

Saints Rule Out Alvin Kamara For Week 7

Alvin Kamara‘s ankle and knee injuries will prevent him from suiting up in Week 7. The Saints have ruled out their standout running back, per Katherine Terrell of The Athletic (on Twitter).

The third-year back did not practice this week. Kamara was questionable for Week 6 with an ankle ailment but played. This latest issue, believed to be a high ankle-type problem, will sideline him. This means Latavius Murray will start against the Bears. The Saints will also be without Jared Cook, who is also dealing with an ankle malady.

Kamara has already amassed 649 scrimmage yards. The third-year Saint is ahead of his pace from his first two dynamic seasons. A free agent addition to replace Mark Ingram, Murray has 205 yards from scrimmage. He’s averaging 4.3 yards per tote for the 5-1 Saints, who are seeking their fifth straight win without Drew Brees.

The other key free agent the Saints added to their skill-position corps this offseason, Cook will miss his first game since the 2016 season. The 32-year-old tight end is behind the pace he set with the Raiders last season. Through six games, Cook has recorded 15 receptions for 168 yards and two touchdowns. Longtime Saint Josh Hill and journeyman Brian Parker are the other tight ends on New Orleans’ roster.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC South Notes: Kamara, Bucs, Falcons

Alvin Kamara missed practice on Thursday and Friday and is officially listed as questionable for tomorrow’s matchup against the Jaguars, reports NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport (via Twitter). The running back has been dealing with an ankle ailment, and coach Sean Payton wouldn’t elaborate when asked if the injury was suffered during practice this week.

Losing Kamara would obviously be a huge hit for the Saints offense, and that’d be true even if Drew Brees was under center. In five games this season, the 24-year-old has compiled 342 rushing yards, 241 receiving yards, and a pair of touchdowns. Kamara has only missed a single game during his three-year career.

If Kamara is forced to sit out, that’d surely mean more snaps for Latavius Murray. Dwayne Washington could also be in line for a bigger role in the Saints offense.

Let’s check out some more notes out of the NFC South:

  • The Buccaneers let go of linebacker Deone Bucannon earlier this week, and that could be good news for their compensatory pick outlook. ESPN’s Adam Schefter points out (on Twitter) that Tampa Bay has now lost more free agents than they’ve signed (five players vs. four players), meaning they’ll now be in line to earn a 2020 third-round compensatory pick thanks to linebacker Kwon Alexander signing with the 49ers.
  • The Buccaneers are set to take on the Panthers in London tomorrow, but many of the team’s offensive linemen won’t be traveling with the squad. ESPN’s Jenna Laine points out that offensive guard Zack Bailey won’t be traveling to London. The rookie suffered a foot and ankle injury earlier this week. Offensive lineman Alex Cappa, offensive tackle Demar Dotson, linebacker Jack Cichy, and wideout Breshad Perriman have also been ruled out.
  • Falcons cornerback Desmond Trufant has been ruled out for tomorrow’s game against the Cardinals. This is another tough break for a 1-4 Falcons team, as the defensive back has compiled five tackles, four passes defended, and a pair of picks this season. Cornerback Blidi Wreh-Wilson and punter Matt Wile have also been ruled out.

South Notes: Ramsey, Texans, Kamara, Bucs

Throughout the offseason, John Dorsey insisted he wanted Duke Johnson on the 2019 Browns. But the Texans‘ decision to offer what will likely become a third-round pick — assuming Johnson plays at least 10 games this season — was clearly a proposal the Browns could not refuse. The consensus around the NFL placed the passing-down back’s value at being worth a fifth-rounder in a trade, per Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports (on Twitter). The Browns getting a likely Day 2 pick is, then, quite the haul. That said, the Texans needed help behind Lamar Miller and now have a running back under contract through 2021.

The GM-less Texans had Bill O’Brien running point on this trade. The sixth-year HC spoke with Dorsey and pulled the trigger, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports (on Twitter). With O’Brien clearly having a say in the Jadeveon Clowney process, and the team opting not to hire a GM this year, it is not surprising the post-Brian Gaine Texans have him operating in a key personnel capacity. This marks another notable trade between these franchises, who made 2017 swaps in deals that sent Brock Osweiler (and a second-round pick) to Cleveland and Deshaun Watson to Houston. But the parties who negotiated those deals, GMs Sashi Brown and Rick Smith, are out of the picture.

Here is the latest from the South divisions:

  • Jalen Ramsey is under Jaguars control through the 2020 season, thanks to the fifth-year option the team exercised this spring. But the contract-seeking cornerback has not exactly been pleased with the franchise as of late, considering his 2018 team-imposed suspension and the high-end corner still attached to his rookie contract. When asked by Titans tackle Taylor Lewan and former Titans linebacker Will Compton (during the duo’s “Bussin’ with the Boys podcast, via the Florida Times-Union) about where he would like to play if he left Jacksonville, Ramsey responded by saying he would like to go to the Titans or the Raiders. Ramsey is a Nashville-area native and said he would be attracted to Las Vegas. The standout corner, set to play for $3.6MM this season, continues to stir the pot.
  • After going down in a Buccaneers practice this week, Vita Vea will get a knee MRI on Friday, Jenna Laine of ESPN.com tweets. The Bucs hope their second-year nose tackle suffered an LCL sprain, per Mike Garafolo of NFL.com (on Twitter). Vea missed three games due to injury as a rookie.
  • With Mark Ingram out due to suspension to start last season, the Saints played Alvin Kamara on 82% of their snaps. The rest of the way in 2018: Kamara played 61% of New Orleans’ offensive plays. Sean Payton prefers the latter work rate, despite Ingram’s defection to Baltimore, Mike Triplett of ESPN.com notes. “Look, is one player taking exactly Mark Ingram’s reps? I can’t tell you that right now,” Payton said. “And yet I think there’s that presumption that Alvin’s going to get more. And I think our pitch count and how we’ve played and utilized him has been really good.” Kamara received 201 touches in 2017 and 275 last season; he cleared 1,500 scrimmage yards in each. Latavius Murray will be his backfield mate this season. The Saints also added Jacquizz Rodgers recently.
  • The Bucs worked out rookie UDFA defensive lineman Shane Bowman on Thursday morning, Greg Auman of The Athletic tweets. The Jaguars waived Bowman earlier this summer.

Ingram, Edelman To Return In Week 5

As we approach Week 5 of the NFL season, several NFL players are returning from four-game bans. As noted by Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter), that list includes notables such as Saints running back Mark Ingram, Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman, Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict, Cowboys defensive tackle David Irving, Chargers defensive tackle Corey Liuget, Colts running back Robert Turbin, Raiders cornerback Daryl Worley, Ravens cornerback Jimmy Smith

Players do not count against a team’s roster max while suspended, so clubs will have to make room for these players before adding them for Week 5. There will be some tough decisions to make, but the upside is clear in most of these cases, particularly when it comes to offensive weapons like Ingram and Edelman or defensive pillars like Burfict and Irving.

Alvin Kamara should remain the focal point of the Saints’ running game, but the return of Ingram will give opposing defenses something else to think about. And, as we saw in the first three weeks of the Patriots’ season, Edelman has been sorely missed.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Alvin Kamara Suffers Concussion

One of the top drivers of the Saints’ resurgence, Alvin Kamara will not return to his team’s pivotal game Thursday night. The rookie running back suffered a concussion, Joel Erickson of The Advocate tweets.

Kamara left the game in the first quarter after a hit from Deion Jones and went to the locker room. He’s in concussion protocol and will now begin taking the steps to return to the field in time for New Orleans’ Week 15 game.

The frontrunner for offensive rookie of the year, Kamara has been a revelation for the Saints. The third-round pick, once Adrian Peterson was removed from the mix, has teamed with Mark Ingram to revitalize the Saints’ ground game. Kamara already had 1,220 yards from scrimmage coming into the game in Atlanta, pairing that with 11 touchdowns.

The Saints also have Trey Edmunds and Jonathan Williams on their 53-man roster, but Williams was inactive for Thursday’s game. The Jets will face the Saints in New Orleans in Week 15. That game is set for Sunday, December 17, giving Kamara a 10-day window to potentially recover in time.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jets Pursued Saints RB Alvin Kamara

Heading into this year’s draft, the Jets were high Tennessee running back Alvin Kamara. However, GM Mike Maccagnan was unwilling to pay the price to move up and draft him, sources tell Manish Mehta of the Daily News. “Important people” within the organization badly wanted to make a big play to get him and some of those people are still annoyed at the GM’s passiveness, Mehta hears. Alvin Kamara (vertical)

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Ultimately, the Saints grabbed Kamara in the third round via an aggressive deal with the 49ers, shipping their 2018 second-round pick and 2017 seventh-round pick out west for the No. 67 choice. Kamara may not have top billing in New Orleans with Mark Ingram and Adrian Peterson ahead of him on the depth chart, but he is in the midst of an excellent preseason and the Jets are among the teams wishing they could get a re-do on the draft (To play devil’s advocate: the Jets’ 2018 second-round pick could very well be in the No. 33-35 range, and that’s a steep price for a current year third rounder.)

The Jets, meanwhile, have the league’s most lackluster roster and an offense that is painfully short on playmakers. Matt Forte and Bilal Powell will be the top options in the backfield and while they could be a serviceable pair, neither player has guaranteed money beyond this season. It’s too early to anoint Kamara as a star, but he would have given the Jets something to build off of for the future.

I wouldn’t say we (don’t) have any difference makers,” said coach Todd Bowles earlier this month as he tried to combat criticism. “We just have to play together. If we block the quarterback we’ll have a chance.”

If Kamara turns out to be a starting caliber player, Maccagnan won’t be the only GM kicking himself over a missed opportunity. However, it seems that others at One Jets Drive are growing frustrated with Maccagnan’s passiveness and emphasis on stockpiling draft picks, and that could be a bigger issue for the team down the road.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Saints Sign Rookie CB Marshon Lattimore

The Saints have officially signed first round pick Marshon Lattimore, according to a team announcement. Second round safety Marcus Williams and third round running back Alvin Kamara have also put pen to paper. Marshon Lattimore (Vertical)

There was tons of trade speculation surrounding the Saints on draft night, but they stood pat at No. 11 and drafted a player who many see as the best cornerback in this year’s class. Lattimore, an Ohio State product, finished his collegiate career with 46 tackles (34 solo), one stop for a loss, four interceptions and 16 passes defensed. In his final year on campus, Lattimore was a first-team All-Big Ten selection and proved to scouts everywhere that he can succeed at the next level.

I’ve studied the top cornerbacks coming out and he’s the best I’ve seen,” one pro personnel director for an AFC team told NFL.com before the draft. “He’s so athletic that he can just post up under the receiver’s chin and shadow him all over the field. And he’s tough, too. He’ll be one of the top cornerbacks pretty quickly.”

The 5-foot-10, 215-pound Kamara was a dual threat as a member of the Volunteers, with whom he averaged 6.2 yards per rush, caught 74 passes, and combined for 23 touchdowns over two seasons. Now, he’ll be learning from the best as he backs up both Mark Ingram and Adrian Peterson. Kamara split carries with Jalen Hurd at Tennessee, so he’s no stranger to a timeshare.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Saints Acquire 67th Pick From 49ers

The Saints have acquired the 67th overall pick from the 49ers, tweets Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle. New Orleans will give up a second-round pick in 2018 and a seventh-rounder this year, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link).

The Saints had been working to move back into the second round in order to draft a pass rusher. But the second ended without a trade for the club, which will instead settle for an early third-rounder. Surprisingly, the Saints will select Tennessee running back Alvin Kamara with the newly acquired pick.

The 5-foot-10, 215-pound Kamara was a dual threat as a member of the Volunteers, with whom he averaged 6.2 yards per rush, caught 74 passes and combined for 23 touchdowns over two seasons. It’s unclear how many touches he’ll receive during the early part of his pro career, though, as the Saints already have Mark Ingram and Adrian Peterson as their top two backfield options. Of course, a timeshare won’t be anything new for Kamara, who coexisted with Jalen Hurd at Tennessee.