For the first time since 2017, Alvin Kamara will perhaps not be the New Orleans Saints’ starting running back.
2023 holds several mysteries for the three-time Pro Bowler Kamara. The biggest mysteries involve the length of his impending suspension and sharing the backfield with newcomers Jamaal Williams and Kendre Miller.
On Feb. 16, 2022, Kamara was indicted for alleged assault taking place during the 2022 NFL Pro Bowl weekend in Las Vegas, Nevada. On March 2, 2023, Kamara pleaded not guilty to conspiracy to commit battery and substantial bodily harm. If found guilty, Kamara could be facing a suspension from the NFL. Estimations of his suspension fall anywhere from four games to a full season.
The Saints have recognized the finite nature of running backs, especially those with suspensions ahead. So, in the third round of the 2023 NFL Draft, New Orleans selected Kendre Miller, a running back out of TCU.
At TCU, Miller collected 2,410 rushing yards, 27 touchdowns, and 6.7 yards per carry. Like Kamara in his rookie season, Miller can make an immediate impact on this offense. Keep in mind that Kamara was also a third-round pick back in 2017.
I love the mentality Kendre Miller has on joining the Saints— Joe O’Leary (@TheHQNerd) May 5, 2023
“I don’t sit too well at backup”
“Even though I respect Kamara and everything he got for the Saints, and everything he did, but I’m coming for that No. 1.”
Kendre ain’t playing around folks
The running back has the shortest career span out of any NFL position with a 2.57-year average. Kamara recently completed his sixth season in the league.
Kamara’s age and the loaded Saints RB room do not threaten his career. However, if Kamara is handed a ten-game suspension, and Williams/Miller have a stellar season without him, Kamara could return to the team without a starting role for the first time in six years.
Luckily for both the Saints and Kamara, the RB signed a five-year contract in 2020 in which he has three seasons remaining. However, leaving a talented RB room via suspension and returning to it after new dogs have taken reign could give Kamara an uphill battle for the next few seasons.
Regardless of Kendre Miller, Jamaal Williams, and his suspension, Kamara is not at risk of losing his job. There are, undoubtedly, some challenges facing Kamara this season that could have huge career implications.
#Saints Offense:— Michael Balko (@MichaelBalkoJr) April 30, 2023
QB- Derek Carr
RB- Alvin Kamara
RB- Jamaal Williams
RB- Kendre Miller
WR- Michael Thomas
WR- Chris Olave
WR- Rasheed Shaheed
WR- Bryan Edwards
WR- AT Perry
TE- Juwan Johnson
TE- Taysom Hill
However, with this challenge comes a great opportunity for Kamara and the entire RB room.
With a reasonably short Kamara suspension, followed by a prime Kamara performance, and stellar seasons from Williams and Miller, the ceiling for this RB room is very, very high. Potentially the best in the NFL.
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