Making sense of the Alvin Kamara craziness

The past couple of days have spawned a rash of conflicting and curious reports and rumors regarding the Saints and running back Alvin Kamara. Ultimately, it’s all just part of the sausage-making process that currently is expected to lead to a new deal by, per a source with knowledge of the situation, Monday.

That’s not a guarantee a deal will be done by then. Currently, that’s the goal. Indeed, it’s always been the goal. But things have gotten sideways a bit during the negotiations, resulting in disputed reports of unexcused absences and rumor and reports of six-figure fines along with suggestions in some circles of a recent squabble that broke out between Kamara and coach Sean Payton.

As one source explained it to PFT, the Saints actually were calling other teams to gauge possible trade interest in the fourth-year tailback. It seems that this was part of an effort not to actually trade Kamara but to demonstrate that there’s no other team that currently would give the Saints what they’d want for Kamara (presumably a lot) and also pay him what he wants (presumably a lot more than what the Saints are offering).

The Saints have long believed that Kamara is every bit as good as Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey, if not better. That created, as one source put it to PFT, a very real sense of anxiety and apoplexy for the Saints, once McCaffrey signed his long-term deal worth $16 million per year and the Saints realized that Kamara would want the same deal or something close to it, even if the Saints don’t use Kamara as extensively as the Panthers use McCaffrey.

It currently seems that everything that has happened in recent days was simply part of the posturing aimed at getting a deal done, with a current belief that a deal will indeed get done. The fact that things got tenuous over the past few days means that they could get tenuous again between now and Monday, as the two sides work toward getting a deal done.