This is even after spending a fair amount of money in free agency on players like Demario Davis, Kurt Coleman, and Cameron Meredith and a new contract for QB Drew Brees. A slew of young players still on rookie deals is what made all of this possible for New Orleans. It should be no surprise then, that when Bleacher Report named every NFL team’s most underpaid player, one of those players on a rookie deal would make the list for the Saints: RB Alvin Kamara:
As a rookie in 2017, New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara led all qualified NFL players with a yards-per-attempt average of 6.1 while accumulating 1,554 scrimmage yards despite being on the field for less than half of the Saints’ offensive snaps.
That earned him a Pro Bowl nod and the Offensive Rookie of the Year award.
PFR determined that the 22-year-old Tennessee product was the third-most-valuable player on the New Orleans roster, behind only Drew Brees and Cameron Jordan. But because Kamara was a mere third-round pick a year ago, he’s making less than $1 million a season on average.
That makes him just the 36th-highest-paid player on his own team.
Bleacher Report’s methodology involved weighing Pro Football Focus’s “Approximate Value” statistic (which is a popular stat among a certain few CSC readers) and the actual financial value of the player’s contract. So obviously a player picked in the third round of the 2017 NFL Draft who went on to win the Offensive Rookie of the Year would be incredibly valuable.
But now reports are out on Alvin Kamara, and there’s a year of film for opposing teams to study. On top of that, the Saints will be without Kamara’s compatriot Mark Ingram for the first four games of the 2018 regular season. It will be interesting to see if Kamara is able to put up similar “value” for the team this year.
We can only hope.