Update: September 1, 10:20 PM Central
Tuesday offered a lot of twists and turns in the Alvin Kamara contract situation. Per Josina Anderson, the New Orleans Saints were said to be open to the idea of trading star running back Alvin Kamara.
I'm told the Saints are open to trading RB Alvin Kamara, per source.— IG: JosinaAnderson (@JosinaAnderson) September 1, 2020
This took off into quite the storm around the 25-year old Atlanta, GA native. Firstly, the idea that a team would consider trading a commodity they learned they couldn’t retain is perfectly understandable. Of course it would be worth exploring the option of getting something in return now than pass on something better than a 2022 compensatory pick.
However, there is a wide gap between a team being “open to trading” a player and actively shopping them.
Secondly, a ton of information became avilable. Details about distance between team and camp on contract terms came to light, fellow Saints players like Cameron Jordan and Demario Davis chimed in, even an apparent epidural procedure for Kamara became public knowledge. It was reported that the epidural is what could have been responsible for the running back’s absences since August 28th. Though we do not know for sure.
But perhaps two of the most important elements that came to light were that the priority for both team and player was to reach an agreement on a long-term extension, per several sources. And there is an expectation that Kamara will be present for Wednesday’s practice after the team took their Tuesday off.
Keep in mind the preferred outcome is to have Alvin Kamara on the team. Anything is possible, but trading him isn’t the preferred outcome.— Nick Underhill (@nick_underhill) September 1, 2020
Now, Tuesday evening, things seem to be heading back into a positive direction, per Ian Rapoport. If this holds true, the Saints and Alvin Kamara’s camp will head back to the negotiating table to continue working toward an agreement for a long-term extension.
After a wild few hours, all is quiet on the Alvin Kamara front. I'm told cooler heads have prevailed and the #Saints and Kamara’s camp will keep working on a deal. He’s expected to be at practice tomorrow.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) September 2, 2020
Now that the “cool heads” have prevailed, perhaps more constructive work can get done outside of the public eye. We’ll continue to keep you updated here as more details become available.
The New Orleans Saints and 2017 offensive rookie of the year running back Alvin Kamara heated up contract talks a little over two weeks ago. Since then, we heard from ESPN that progress could “move” in the next “few weeks”. Now, near that very timeframe, Alvin Kamara has missed a handful of practices and a lot of speculation began to swell.
On Monday, an update was shared by ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Saints' RB Alvin Kamara has had an unexcused absence from training camp the past three days and it is believe to be contract related, per sources.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) August 31, 2020
Now, often times when you see the words “unexcused absence” and “contract-related” in a tweet about a superstar player, it can be panic-inducing. However, not all contract-related holdouts are inherently negative.
Alvin Kamara told media not long ago that he told his agent “don’t tell me anything about a contract until it’s like something where it’s happening or it’s something that I need to know.” Also adding that he’s “not concerned with contract talks at all.” So it is understandable why it may feel confusing that someone who isn’t concerned about contract talks would not attend camp over contract-related reasons.
While we are conditioned to think of these “holdout” types of actions as negative, it’s not always the case. It’s important to understand that this could actually signal something positive about the direction of Kamara’s contract talks.
A lot of people are gonna freak out over this, but I wonder if this is a signal that the contract is almost done. If that's the case, no need to risk injury during camp jeopardizing the new deal. https://t.co/g4ZWP2rO6e— Ross Jackson (@RossJacksonNOLA) August 31, 2020
Let’s say that contract talks are close enough that the player and agent feel that they don’t want to risk jeopardizing their progress. If they want to avoid that, one of the most important elements to protect against is injury. This could very well be the case with Kamara. We tend to think of these situations as a disagreement that causes the player to not participate, but at times it is about protecting what are deepening negotiations. We got our first nod toward that possibility from neworleans.football’s Nick Underhill who recently broke down the intricacies of the negotiations.
Now that isn’t to say that a contract is imminent at this time or that anything is guaranteed, positive or negative. Things could wrap up quickly or they could fall though but it simply is not time to worry just yet. Erring on the side of waiting to see how this all unfolds is likely the most advantageous approach.
This is not at all new for the Saints with superstar players. They also saw a similar situation with Michael Thomas ahead of last year’s (at the time) record-breaking deal. Last year’s camp bean on July 25th and Thomas didn’t report until after his deal was complete on July 31st. According to Yahoo! Sports’s Charles Robinson, the Saints and Thomas were deep into negotiations three days ahead of camp. As the talks drew closer, Thomas did not report, therefore not risking injury and progress.
If this happens to be the case for Kamara, hopefully he can follow in his teammate’s shoes and put together a record-setting performance after landing the extension.
How concerned are you about this Alvin Kamara contract situation? Let us know in the comments. Make sure you follow Canal Street Chronicles on Twitter at @SaintsCSC, “Like” us on Facebook at Canal Street Chronicles, and make sure you’re subscribed to our new YouTube channel. As always, you can follow me on Twitter @RossJacksonNOLA and subscribe to my daily Saints podcast, Locked On Saints.