On the heels of the first full slate of NFL games, do-it-all running back Alvin Kamara inked a five-year deal with the New Orleans Saints that will pay Kamara $75 million in new money, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapaport. Klutch Sports, led by agent Damarius Bilbo, negotiated the contract on Kamara’s behalf. As part of his new deal, the former Tennessee Volunteer running back will also receive a $15 million signing bonus, which he will receive in full within the first three months of the deal, according to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero.
Kamara’s $15 million signing bonus is third among running backs that are not on their rookie deals, trailing Christian McCaffrey ($21.5 million) and Dalvin Cook ($15.5 million). The former third-round draft pick received $34.3 million guaranteed at signing as well, a figure that is now the leader in the clubhouse for new running back deals. McCaffrey is second in that category ($30 million), followed by Ezekiel Elliott ($28.05 million), Cook ($28 million), Le’Veon Bell ($27 million), and Derrick Henry ($25.5 million). Kamara will make an average salary of $15 million over the life of the deal, which is tied with Elliott for second among all running backs and trails only McCaffrey ($16.01 million).
Despite these gaudy numbers, Andrew Brandt, former sports agent and former Vice President of Player Finance for the Green Bay Packers, wisely pointed out on Twitter: “The flurry of NFL running back deals will all end up very similar in the true money: $25-28 million for two years, and then ‘we’ll see.'”
Kamara has registered at least 700 rush yards and 500 receiving yards in each of his first three seasons and has totaled over 2,000 receiving yards and over 2,000 rush yards to go along with 38 touchdowns. He led the NFL in yards per carry (6.1) during his rookie campaign in 2017, the same year he took home Offensive Rookie of the Year honors. However, he has not come close to matching that production on the ground over the past two seasons, registering under five yards per carry in 2018 and 2019, though he was hampered by a knee injury in 2019.
On the other hand, Kamara has been as consistent as one can be in the passing game, at least in terms of receptions. He caught exactly 81 passes in 2017, 2018, and 2019 for a total of 243 receptions. That figure ranks second among all running backs over that span.
Kamara will make $2.13 million this year in base salary and will become an unrestricted free agent in 2026. In Sunday’s victory against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Kamara only ran the ball 12 times for 16 yards and one touchdown but was a bright spot in the passing game, registering a team-high five receptions (tied with tight end Jared Cook) for 51 yards and one score. The Saints play at the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 2.