We likely all remember Cabo Zeke from the thrilling offseason prior to the 2019 football season. Dallas Cowboys star running back Ezekiel Elliott held out up until a few days prior to Week 1. Elliott forced Jerry Jones’s hand, and in return broke the bank on a $95 million extension. The contract made Elliott the highest-paid running back in NFL history.
However, contracts are made to be topped. Todd Gurley and Le’Veon Bell were all jumped as the highest-paid player at their position, and Zeke will prove to be no different. There is an uptick in do-it-all running backs in today’s NFL, talents that far exceed what a running back was previously perceived to offer to an offense.
New Orleans Saints‘ Alvin Kamara may be at the pinnacle of that discussion, and with a rookie contract set to expire in one season, the former Tennessee Vol will be looking for a hefty payday.
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Alvin Kamara’s Rookie Deal Set to Expire Following 2020
Alvin Kamara was projected by many as a first-round pick ahead of the 2017 NFL Draft. However, due to an extremely deep running back class, he would find himself slipping into the hands of the New Orleans Saints in round three. Certainly a devastating drop for the running back at the time, but one that may help him in the long run.
Kamara made just $807,500 in 2019, a far cry from the upper-echelon of players at his position, despite the fact that he also occupies that upper-echelon. However, due to falling out of the first-round, his rookie deal was shortned to only four seasons, allowing him to hit the open market earlier in his career, a major plus for a player at his position.
Alvin Kamara is Ready to Break the Bank
New Orleans may find themselves in a bit of a money conundrum. They doled out $100+ million to Michael Thomas recently, while Drew Brees’ contract expires at the same time as Kamara’s does. If Brees decides to continue to play, he will carry an extremely high price tag. However, whether it’s with New Orleans or somewhere else, Kamara deserves to get paid, and he will.
A few seasons ago, Le’Veon Bell received a yearly salary of $13.125 million, only to be jumped by Los Angeles Rams’ Todd Gurley at $14.375 million. Ezekiel Elliott reset the market this season, as he’s set to earn $15 million per year. Kamara is next up to bat, and he’s ready to hit it out the park with the largest contract ever for an NFL running back.
While it’s true that Kamara saw a dip in production this season, a lot of that can be attributed to the fact that the Saints wanted to save their running back for games like today, playoff games, conference championship games, and potentially Super Bowls. An argument can be made that no one presents more mismatch issues in today’s NFL than Kamara does. Whether he’s touching the ball or not, defenses need to account for him, and you can’t put a price tag on that type of impact on a Sean Payton offense.