Bleacher Report proposes Saints trade for Raiders RB Kenyan Drake

With Alvin Kamara facing a potential suspension, the Saints could turn to the trade market. One outlet believes Kenyan Drake should be the target, via @RossJacksonNOLA:

Star running back Alvin Kamara could be facing a suspension at some point in the 2022 NFL season. The New Orleans Saints may receive more clarity around the situation in August, when Kamara’s court hearing is currently expected to take place after being postponed twice since the incident took place in February. Until then, the team may continue to search for ways to make a potential 6-game span without Kamara survivable. So far, they’ve brought in veteran backs Sony Michel and David Johnson for visits, though no deal materialized in either case.

The Saints are not limited to the open market, however. That’s the route Ian Wharton of Bleacher Report went when he listed one trade each team should make before training camp starts. In his proposal, the Saints would send a 2023 fifth-round selection to the Las Vegas Raiders for versatile back Kenyan Drake. Here’s what Wharton wrote:

“Trading Drake would save $2.75 million against a $1.1 million dead-cap hit, which is a much better option than cutting the veteran.

New Orleans stands out as an excellent landing spot. With Alvin Kamara’s future uncertain after he was arrested and charged with battery resulting in substantial bodily harm in February, the Saints could use a versatile pass-catching back with explosiveness. They’ve worked out David Johnson recently, but Drake is a much better option in comparison.”

Drake would certainly be a fit in the Saints offense. He’s averaged a respectable 4.5 yards per carry in his 89-game career, though that average fell off a bit (to 4.0 yards per attempt) running behind some mediocre offensive lines the last two years with Las Vegas and Arizona. He’s also caught 199 passes for 1,535 yards (an average of 7.7 yards per reception), totaling 4,919 yards from scrimmage and 36 combined touchdowns as a runner and receiver (29 on the ground, 7 through the air). But he’s been at his best on a limited workload, much like Kamara.

And it’s likely the Saints would not be looking for a “bell cow” style back to take 80% or more of the offensive snaps. But instead, someone that can impact the game on 20% to 40% of a game’s snaps in rotation with some combination of the running backs on New Orleans’ current depth chart. That includes Mark Ingram II, Tony Jones Jr., Dwayne Washington, Devine Ozigbo, and undrafted rookie Abram Smith. Adding Drake to the competition ahead of camp in exchange for a Day 3 draft selection could be a move worth making.

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Projecting the Saints’ starting offense before training camp

Some key additions for the New Orleans Saints bring up a new-look offense in 2022, with several new starters projected in the lineup, via @RossJacksonNOLA:

As organized team activities (OTAs) begin around the NFL, important roster battles get started, injured players show their progress, and rookies look to establish themselves. There’s no exception for the New Orleans Saints as the team reports to the facility on Airline Drive. Many of the new additions and standout rookies will be on the offensive side of the ball thanks to the offseason additions of rookie wideout Chris Olave, fellow first-round selection tackle Trevor Penning, and veteran wide receiver Jarvis Landry.

From now through OTAs and the upcoming mandatory minicamp events the Saints offensive roster will look to shake out. Training camp will bring not only a clearer look at the 2022 depth chart, but will certainly provide it’s own intrigue as starters get solidified. Here’s a look at the projected starting Saints offense ahead of training camp and the preseason:

Alvin Kamara restructures his contract, gets the Saints closer to salary cap compliance

The Saints restructured their contract with Alvin Kamara, helping them get closer to salary cap compliance ahead of free agency, via @RossJacksonNOLA:

Starting the offseason $76 million over the NFL’s salary cap would be stressful for any team but the New Orleans Saints. Throughout the last two weeks, the Saints have restructured several contracts in order to work their way to salary cap compliance, and the work continued this morning. According to reports, the Saints have opened up another $8.372 million by restructuring running back Alvin Kamara’s contract.

In doing so, New Orleans converted his $6 million roster bonus and $4.465 million of his base salary (which is now at the veteran minimum: $1.035 million) into a signing bonus and adding a void year in 2026. This move drops Kamara’s $14.5 million cap hit to just $6.128 million.

Doing this will also ensure that Kamara sees the majority of his year’s pay up front even in the case of a potential suspension. In that way, this could be seen as both a player and team-friendly move. Kamara was arrested in Las Vegas last month following an alleged altercation. The court hearing for his Las Vegas battery case has been pushed back to April 25.

The Saints should now be hovering between $20 to $25 million over the cap now with some hefty restructures left in their pockets. The Saints could save over $18 million by restructuring Marshon Lattimore’s contract and up to $7 million with a restructure to Taysom Hill’s deal. After that, any additional moves such as a potential extension or release of cornerback Bradley Roby, would begin to open up spending money beyond cap compliance.

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Alvin Kamara could face 6-game suspension after Las Vegas arrest

Alvin Kamara could face 6-game suspension after Las Vegas arrest, per NFL personal conduct policy:

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This situation with Alvin Kamara isn’t looking any better by the day. After being arrested in Las Vegas — picked up by police at Allegiant Stadium following the Pro Bowl — and released from custody upon posting bail, the next step is considering whether the New Orleans Saints running back will face any league discipline in addition to, you know, legal penalties.

It’s important to note that Kamara has not yet been charged with a crime. He was booked in on suspicion of battery causing substantial physical harm; police say the victim was diagnosed with a fractured orbital bone which may require surgery. The courts will circle back to this investigation in March and choose how to proceed. If formally charged and convicted of this, a felony in Nevada, it would carry a mandatory $10,000 fine and sentencing of between one and five years in prison.

But the NFL can choose to suspend Kamara for at least six games regardless of what the courts decide. The league office will conduct its own independent investigation to determine whether Kamara’s conduct violated the league personal conduct policy, which says of violent offenses including assault and battery, “a first offense will subject the offender to a baseline suspension without pay of six games, with consideration given to any aggravating or mitigating factors.”

So that’s obviously not great. The Saints fielded the worst offense in the NFL last year when Kamara missed time with an injury — he’s quite literally their best player regardless of position. If they don’t make some big investments at the skills positions in the months ahead, they risk starting the Dennis Allen with more of the same stale offense that defined Sean Payton’s last year in New Orleans.

On the other hand, there’s some precedent for a different suspension here than that six-game baseline. As observed by Amy Dash at League of Justice, Antonio Brown was suspended eight games not too long ago stemming from battery charges on a truck driver. On the other end of the spectrum, Tyreek Hill was not suspended after an investigation into alleged battery on his son resulted in no criminal charges. It’s possible Kamara ultimately dodges a suspension, depending on how this investigation turns out. It’s just too early to say anything definitively.

However, we know the stakes involved. We know what’s at risk. Seeing Kamara miss the first month or two of the 2022 season due to something so easily avoidable would be tough to swallow. For now, all we can do is wait and watch to see what happens next.

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New details emerge on Alvin Kamara incident report

New details emerge on Alvin Kamara incident report; court appearance rescheduled for March

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Las Vegas police have shared more information from their report on the incident involving Alvin Kamara this weekend, in which the New Orleans Saints running back was arrested following the 2022 Pro Bowl game at Allegiant Stadium. Police say Kamara has been fully cooperative with their investigation, and that he was picked up at the stadium following the game on Sunday afternoon.

Additionally, Las Vegas police claim that surveillance video from the venue in which Kamara is accused of assaulting a man, Darnell Greene, supports the victim’s account of events though it has not been made publicly available. Greene states in the police report that he started a conversation with a member of Kamara’s party and was stopped from boarding an elevator by Kamara, who he believes shoved him to the ground, at which point a group of people hit and kicked him until he lost consciousness. He was later diagnosed with an orbital fracture which may require surgery.

Kamara is also quoted in the police report as identifying each member of his group in surveillance photos, though he says Greene was approached them and called one of his friends ugly while threatening to fight them. Kamara allegedly adds that he didn’t throw the first punch, he did get involved once “he saw a fight break out next to him.” Additionally, Kamara says he thought Greene was fleeing from the fight and pursued him, punching Greene several times. The police report counters by claiming video shows Greene did not run away.

So what happens next? Kamara posted the $5,000 bond to leave custody on Sunday, and his initial court appearance scheduled for Monday afternoon has been postponed to March 8. He faces a charge of battery resulting in substantial bodily harm, which is a felony in Nevada and carries a possible prison sentence of between one and five years, with a mandatory $10,000 fine pending conviction. It’s unclear what, if any, penalty or suspension the NFL will hand to him at this early stage in the process.

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Alvin Kamara arrested in Las Vegas, charged with battery after Pro Bowl

Saints’ Alvin Kamara arrested in Las Vegas and charged with battery after Pro Bowl:

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New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara was arrested in Las Vegas on Sunday evening and charged with battery that police say caused “substantial bodily harm” to the victim, stemming from an incident at a local nightclub on Saturday. He’s currently scheduled to appear before a judge at 1:30 p.m. PT on Monday. His bond was set at $5,000.

This comes just hours after Kamara participated in the 2022 Pro Bowl event at Allegiant Stadium. It was Kamara’s fourth trip to the Pro Bowl in as many seasons he’s played in the NFL, so this is obviously a high-profile situation. Stay tuned for updates.

This is a developing story…

Alvin Kamara says he’s ‘not 100% committed’ to his dinner plans after Sean Payton report

Alvin Kamara says he’s ‘not 100% committed’ to his dinner plans after Sean Payton report

Let’s count Alvin Kamara in the camp not sweating Sean Payton’s commitment to working with the New Orleans Saints this year. After a report from NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport said Payton had not verbally, 100% committed to returning to New Orleans for the 2022 season, Kamara issued his own statement making light of the whole situation on Twitter.

“I’m not 100% committed to putting ketchup on my fries tonight,” Kamara wrote, advising fans to turn to WDSU’s Fletcher Mackel for details on his dinner plans later that evening.

Maybe there’s more smoke to this fire than the reactions of Kamara and Saints owner Gayle Benson would suggest, but it sure doesn’t sound like either of them are worried Payton might be about to ride off into the sunset. Obviously it’s a developing situation, so be sure to watch this space for movement in the days ahead.

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Alvin Kamara had the best reaction to Taysom Hill’s win-sealing TD run

Alvin Kamara had the best reaction to Taysom Hill’s win-sealing TD run

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The New Orleans Saints held onto a 14-point lead over the New York Jets late in the fourth quarter, but Taysom Hill wanted to leave no doubt. So when his coach Sean Payton dialed up the perfect play — and his blockers did an excellent job paving the way for his path to the open field — Hill took off at a sprint and kept going for 44 yards, outrunning rookie Jets safety Ashtyn Davis for the second-longest score of his career (only a 45-yard touchdown reception from Drew Brees in 2019 traveled further).

But it wasn’t supposed to go that way, at least if Alvin Kamara had anything to say about it. The Saints star running back had his own big performance against New York but found time to joke about Hill’s feats in his postgame press conference.

“He should’ve slid, I told his dumbass [to] slide,” Kamara quipped after the game. Sure, that may have been the smarter play in controlling the clock and setting the Saints up to keep the ball away from New York. The analytics community will certainly sign off on that opinion. But there’s no doubting how much more exciting a walk-off touchdown like Hill’s can be.

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Watch: Alvin Kamara scores 16-yard rushing TD vs. Jets in return from injury

Watch: Alvin Kamara scores 16-yard rushing TD vs. Jets in first game back from injury

Whew: Alvin Kamara is good at football, guys. The New Orleans Saints running back retook the lead in Sunday’s game with the New York Jets on a 16-yard touchdown run, cutting back behind the formation to put some space between him and the Jets defenders in pursuit. A subsequent point-after kick gave the Saints a 10-3 lead over New York.

It’s wild how easy he makes feats like this look. But when you’re a unique athlete you make special plays, and that’s become Kamara’s calling-card. Great to see him moving so well after he missed four games with a knee injury.

In a a bigger-picture view, this was the 67th touchdown that Kamara has scored in his Saints career as a runner, receiver, or returner. That cut the gap between him and legendary Saints wideout Marques Colston to just five scores in franchise history. If Kamara can finish his year strong, there’s no reason he won’t claim that record before season’s end.

[lawrence-newsletter]

Alvin Kamara breaks Roger Craig’s NFL record for most RB receptions in first 5 years

Alvin Kamara breaks Roger Craig’s NFL record for the most receptions by a running back in their first 5 years:

Make some more room in the trophy case: New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara has broken another NFL record, catching his 359th reception in Sunday’s game with the New York Jets.

Previously held by San Francisco 49ers legend Roger Craig, often the tip of the spear for Bill Walsh’s game-changing West Coast Offense, it’s another impressive accomplishment for No. 41.

This latest broken record goes to show just how unique Kamara’s skills set is. There aren’t many players out there who can run like he does, either behind the offensive line or lined up outside the formation.

He’s the latest step in a series of evolutions to change how the sport has been played, and it’s not hyperbole to suggest he’s making his own Hall of Fame resume. Let’s see what Kamara has in store as the Jets game continues — he’s six touchdowns away from tying Marques Colston’s team record, and a couple of scores today would do a lot to help his cause.

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