Not long ago, it looked as if Saints running back Alvin Kamara was the NFL's next big thing out of the backfield. Kamara was effective as a rusher and pass-catching threat his first two years in the league, but took a step back last season, even if it was no fault of his own.
In 2019, Kamara notched career lows in touchdowns and total offense as the 24-year-old's overall production regressed due to injury. Kamara has been primed for a long-term extension for awhile now but the Saints should let his contract year play out before they make that decision.
New Orleans could have offered Kamara a multi-year extension after his second pro season but decided to play it safe, and now we know why. Long-term deals in football are hardest to evaluate for running backs because of injuries and consistency, two issues Kamara dealt with in 2019. The Saints are tight for cap space as is, so extending Kamara would only add to the risk they've already assumed.
Kamara missed two games and seven starts last season as he battled issues with his knee and ankle, and now New Orleans knows they have to keep an eye on him in his contract year. Running back Latavius Murray stole time in the backfield from a healthy Kamara, so how could the Saints possibly feel comfortable giving him a big pay day?
The likelihood of New Orleans letting Kamara walk in 2021 will only increase, especially with past warning signs like Todd Gurley.