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NFL Draft

TDN Scouting: How Saints-Alvin Kamara Issue Came To Be

  • The Draft Network
  • September 2, 2020
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Currently going through summer evaluations, our scouting team of Kyle Crabbs, Joe Marino, Jordan Reid, and Drae Harris are meeting up every day to discuss prospects, traits, and concepts.

With Alvin Kamara trade rumors beginning to circulate over the past few days, on Wednesday we talked about why fitting the talented running back into New Orleans’ future plans will be tricky given their less than ideal cap situation.

Salary Struggles

As a win-now team with an aging quarterback, it’s no secret that New Orleans would prefer to keep Kamara in their long-term plans. Unfortunately, their future (and current) cap situation makes this easier said than done.

“My mind immediately goes to the challenges the Saints have with their salary cap,” Marino stated in our discussion about Kamara. “They don’t have money now, and they definitely don’t have it in the future. As creative as they’ve been structuring things, you can’t make that cap space magically appear.”

Crabbs furthered this sentiment, acknowledging that New Orleans’ Super Bowl window is closing in quick fashion.

“When we graded teams (for the TDN premium team guides), New Orleans had a top roster, top QB, and top coach, but they’re at the bottom of the league in spending power and draft picks,” Crabbs stated. “‘You look at the cap situation and next year they’re scheduled to pay $252 million for their top 51 players—the cap floor is $175 million. That’s $77 million over the cap and that’s without mentioning 2021 expiring free agents Demario Davis, Jared Cook, Sheldon Rankins, Jameis Winston, or their 2017 draft class. It has to be 2020 or bust.”

Reid also shared some of these same thoughts, bringing up the Saints’ strong 2017 class as one of the main reasons for their current issues. 

“New Orleans has always been known as a team that kicks the can down the road. I think it’s really going to catch up to them with all of their 2017 draft class all needing contracts (after this season). You’ve got (Ryan) Ramczyk, Marshon Lattimore, Marcus Williams, Alex Anzalone, and Kamara,” Reid stated. “That’s the downside of having a great draft class.”

Poor Contracts

The reason New Orleans is in this tricky situation, aside from kicking the can down the road as Jordan previously mentioned, is that they’re saddled with multiple poor contracts. Most specifically, Taysom Hill’s two-year, $21 million dollar deal. In fact, our entire staff agreed with the assertion that his contract is one of the league’s absolute worst.

“That might be the worst contract in the NFL,” Reid stated when discussing Hill’s deal. “It’s unbelievable that their third-string QB is getting the front-loaded money that they could have used on Kamara.”

Continuing our poor contract dialogue, Marino also brought up guard Andrus Peat and his lucrative five-year, $57.5 million dollar deal, something that he felt was entirely unnecessary to dole out.

“Andrus Peat isn’t worth his money. That might have been one of their biggest mistakes,” Marino stated. “(I would have) let Peat walk, kept (Larry) Warford at half the price, and then you still have (Cesar) Ruiz to fill Peat’s spot.

Crabbs finished the conversation by giving our group a bit of perspective—and reaffirming our collective stance—on New Orleans’ non-essential contracts.

“They have $40 million in cap wrapped up in Taysom Hill, Janoris Jenkins, and Andrus Peat next year,” Crabbs stated. “Individually, that’s bad. Collectively, it’s terrible.”

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