Sean Payton: We’re “actively negotiating a contract” with Alvin Kamara

A couple of days of craziness between the Saints and running back Alvin Kamara has, for now, settled down.

Kamara practiced on Wednesday, which he reportedly hadn’t been doing due to an injury — or an “injury.” Coach Sean Payton confirmed that player and team currently are trying to work out an extension.

“We’re actively negotiating a contract with he and his agent, and we’ll keep you posted if there’s any progress,” Payton said regarding Kamara. “We’re focused on him being a part of our plan for Week One.”

It’s currently believed that a deal will be done by Monday. The question is where Kamara will fall in terms of annual average between Panther running back Christian McCaffrey ($16 million per year) and Bengals running back Joe Mixon ($12 million per year).

Whether it’s Ezekiel Elliott, who held out last year, or Kamara and Mixon, who apparently held in this year, it’s important for running backs to push for their second contracts after their third seasons. Given that running backs tend to play their best in the early years of their career, replacing the last year (or two) of a slotted contract becomes critical to ensuring that the player is getting paid not for what he’s done in the past but for what he’ll be doing in the future.

Regardless, big-money contracts for running backs always require the team to assume the risk that, sooner than later, they’ll regret making the investment because, due to injury or otherwise, the performance may not match the compensation.