USA Today

The New Orleans Saints have star running back Alvin Kamara locked up for many years to come, reaching a five-year, $75 million contract extension with the three-time Pro Bowl running back, per NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. Kamara receives $75 million in new money, on top of the $2.133 million he was scheduled to make this season, the final year of his rookie contract — totaling $77.133 million over the next six years. The $15 million average annual value of the deal in terms of new money ties Kamara with Ezekiel Elliott as the second-highest-paid running back in NFL history — behind only Christian McCaffrey. He’s also the second-highest-paid running back in total value, behind Elliott. 

Per ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Kamara will receive $34.333 million in guaranteed money — the fourth-most for a running back in NFL history behind Elliott, McCaffrey, and Le’Veon Bell. 

The contract extension is the culmination of a crazy few weeks for Kamara, who the Saints were reportedly considering trading if they couldn’t finalize a deal with him. He was absent during the team facility during that time, but it wasn’t contract related. According to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, Kamara had to receive an epidural shot in his back, which would have kept him sidelined for a few days. He still showed up at the Saints facility for COVID-19 testing so he could rejoin the team. Negotiations were at a stalemate, but Kamara never considered holding out from the team.

Kamara is the latest running back to land a contract extension this offseason. Titans running back Derrick Henry ($12.5 million annual average), Bengals running back Joe Mixon ($12 million annual average) and McCaffrey ($16 million annual average) all received strong commitments from their respective franchises. Also on Saturday, Vikings running back Dalvin Cook received an extension that gives him an average annual salary of $12.6 million. 

Kamara had a career-low 1,330 yards from scrimmage last season, also finishing with a career-low in touchdowns (six) and yards per touch (5.3), but he battled through injuries and is now healthy. The 2017 second-round pick is fifth in yards from scrimmage (4,476) and second in all-purpose yards (5,061) over the past three seasons. Kamara’s 27 rushing touchdowns are fifth in the NFL and his 243 receptions and 2,068 yards are second in the league among running backs only to McCaffrey. 

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