Title-Reacting to the Alvin Kamara Situation

Story posted February 9, 2022 in CommRadio, Sports by Matthew McLaughlin

This past Saturday, New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara was arrested and charged with battery assault resulting in substantial bodily harm after playing in the Pro Bowl in Las Vegas.

Obviously, the legal implications are far greater than the football implications and this article is not attempting to predict how Kamara’s case will work out. Instead, this article covers the perspective of the Saints and how this will affect an organization already experiencing significant upheaval.

The Financial Impact

In 2020, Kamara signed a contract worth $75 million over five years. According to Spotrac.com, Kamara’s contract is a $14.5 million cap hit this upcoming season. One possibility is the Saints void his guarantees, which would lower the cap hit.

However, there would still be some cap gymnastics for the Saints regarding the timing of either releasing or trading Kamara. Theoretically, if the Saints traded Kamara after June 1, the team would save $11.5 million that would be wiped away from Kamara’s cap hit, compared to only $5.5 million if the Saints traded him before June 1.

Cutting Kamara before June 1 would create a cap hit of $20.5 million, but that number drops to $14.5 million after June 1. For a team that ranks dead last in cap space, any potential wiggle room will be on the table for the front office.

However, Mark Ingram is still under contract for this season for less than $3 million, which could incline the Saints to try to dump Kamara’s money and search for a new young back to draft.

While the legal part of this situation is very up in the air, the length of the NFL’s punishment will incline the Saints to reevaluate their financial books.

The Roster Impact

Drew Brees and Sean Payton brought stability to New Orleans for over a decade, but in the last two years, the franchise’s best quarterback retired and the coach announced he’s stepping away from football.

The ripple effect has become defensive coordinator Dennis Allen taking over as head coach and the quarterback position remaining a complete question mark. Jameis Winston is coming off a season-ending knee injury and Trevor Siemien will hit free agency this offseason.

A Kamara suspension would be disastrous for this team that already needs to fill roster holes.

As of this writing, the Saints own eight picks in this year’s draft, so do they completely blow it up? Do they leverage those picks and package them with other players to get a star?

With wideout Michael Thomas expected to return fully healthy this season and Ingram remaining under contract for another season, it makes more sense for the Saints to try to acquire a veteran quarterback such as Teddy Bridgewater who went undefeated in six games as starter for the Saints a couple years ago and will also hit free agency this summer.

What punishment the NFL will administer likely won’t be determined until the justice system handles the case first, but suddenly, the Saints may have to cut ties with a franchise superstar.

Matthew McLaughlin is a second-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email mem6936@psu.edu.