Saints running back Alvin Kamara has emerged as one of the most coveted names at this year’s trade deadline. Since being drafted in 2017, Kamara has emerged as one of the eminent dual-threat backs in the NFL. He’s as good in the passing game as he is between the tackles, and he would be a strong addition to any competitor this season.
Despite his touchdown numbers going down, Kamara is well on track to get to over 1,000 all-purpose yards for the sixth time in his career. The Saints are still leaning on Kamara, with him getting 42 percent of their carries. He’s also second on the team in receiving yards, trailing only rookie sensation Chris Olave to this point in the year.
All of this to say: The incentive to trade for Kamara is still there. The Bills and Rams are among the teams emerging in nearly every running back trade conversation. And both teams could be in a place to make the massive offers required to acquire the star.
With that being said, how realistic is a Kamara trade? While there are reasons to trade for him, the Saints have plenty of reasons not to trade him at all. He’s a key part of their offense and he has a significant monetary hold on the Saints right now.
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Here are three reasons Alvin Kamara is unlikely to go anywhere at this trade deadline.
Three reasons the Saints won’t trade Alvin Kamara
1.) Alvin Kamara’s dead money
Kamara is in the third year of his five-year extension, signed in 2020.
If the Saints dealt him now, they would be on the hook for $14.3 million this year in dead money. He’s likely the only player they could part with who would fetch them a first-round pick, but there are very specific reasons for that.
The cap savings would be minute for the Saints with that in mind, so there’s not much monetary incentive to get him off the books for the time being.
2.) Struggles in the NFC South
Despite a 3-5 start, the Saints are very much in the thick of things in the lowly NFC South. They’re a game off the Falcons, who are 4-4, and they presently hold the tiebreaker over Atlanta with their Week 1 win.
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The Saints are in a weird limbo at this point in the year. They just played their best game of the season against the Raiders and won in dominant fashion. Perhaps they try to ride that momentum.
There’s no denying their issues at quarterback could hold them back, but the Saints came in this year looking to compete in their division. Despite the fact they haven’t met their own yardstick, they are still doing that.
3.) Alvin Kamara doesn’t want to go anywhere
When it comes to star players, wants and needs have to be considered. Davante Adams put himself in Las Vegas. Tyreek Hill went to Miami. But Kamara doesn’t seem to have any interest in leaving New Orleans.
Kamara didn’t mince words when asked about trade rumors Sunday, simply saying “I’m not interested in playing anywhere else” to reporters.
Kamara had his best game of the season Sunday against the Raiders, and he emerged as a team leader after a Thursday night loss to the Cardinals.
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That kind of leadership in addition to what Kamara brings on the field makes him invaluable to the franchise.
Alvin Kamara contract details
Kamara signed a five-year, $75 million contract with the Saints before the 2020 season, with two more years of that deal still to come after this season. He will be a free agent after the 2025-26 season (his contract is through 2026, but it will void).
Kamara’s contract is fairly heavily backloaded after a restructure this offseason, something else interested parties will want to consider.
Dealing Kamara at this point would be a surprising white flag from a Saints team that battled a similarly trying season last year. While it could behoove them to try to secure some draft capital after losing next year’s first round pick, there could be other ways to do it beyond dealing their best — and seemingly most committed — player.