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Schefter: Alvin Kamara has third straight unexcused practice absence due to contract

Saints starting RB Alvin Kamara reportedly missing camp due to contract negotiations.

Jan 5, 2020; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara reacts as he warms up before a NFC Wild Card playoff football game against the Minnesota Vikings at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.  Derick Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

The New Orleans Saints are Super Bowl or bust this season, but they’ll need to find a way to placate star running back Alvin Kamara and his desire for a new contract. Kamara has now missed three days of practice, and apparently he hasn’t shown up due to his contract, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Kamara enters his contract year this season and like many other starting running backs before him, he wants some guarantees and extra cash before playing the final deal on his rookie contract that will pay him $2.1 million. The shelf-life of a running back is short in the NFL and asking for a raise and a new contract is smart, but getting it isn’t easy.

The Panthers Christian McCaffrey recently signed a deal making him the highest paid running back in the league, but on average, running backs aren’t getting big deals anymore. The value of the position has degraded over the last few years and teams have found better ways to allocate their money to take care of the position while spending up at key positions like quarterback, defensive end left tackle.

Kamara, when healthy, has been outstanding. His statistics are video game-like, with 4,478 total yards, 243 receptions and 37 touchdowns in just three seasons. Those crazy numbers include a down 2019 for him, where he dealt with multiple injuries and had a lot of touchdown regression. There’s no doubt he is a huge part of their offense and brings a dimension that another back couldn’t easily fill.

If he does miss time due to a holdout, Latavius Murray would get the lead back duties again, but could lose some receiving work to Ty Montgomery, who has had a good camp.