Alvin Kamara’s contract details, salary cap impact, and bonuses

What is the situation with Alvin Kamara's contract, how does he impact the salary cap, and what options do the Saints have?


Alvin Kamara’s contract details, salary cap impact, and bonuses

The news of Alvin Kamara’s arrest in Las Vegas has brought his contract and salary cap situation into sharp focus this offseason. Let’s examine the details in Kamara’s contract and the options the Saints have with his deal going forward.

Alvin Kamara’s contract, salary, and bonus details

In September 2020, Kamara and the Saints agreed to a five-year contract extension worth $75 million. The deal made him one of the highest-paid running backs in the NFL. The contract contained a $15 million signing bonus and $33.8 million in guarantees. Initially, only his 2020 and 2021 salary was guaranteed. However, at the start of the 2021 league year, a further $11.5 million for 2022 became guaranteed.

There is a further $4 million potential set to become guaranteed if Kamara is on the Saints’ roster on March 20, 2022. The final two years of Kamara’s deal have no guarantee mechanisms and are worth $32.6 million in base salary and $4 million in two roster bonuses.

How much does Kamara’s contract impact the salary cap?

Kamara’s cap number is a combination of his prorated signing bonus, base salary, and any roster bonuses. Furthermore, his $15 million signing bonus is prorated at $3 million a year between 2020 and 2024. In the first two years, 2020 and 2021, Kamara had salary cap numbers of $4.1 million and $5 million.

In 2022, Kamara was set to have a $5.5 million salary and a $6 million roster bonus. Add in the $3 million prorated signing bonus, and he was set to have a cap number of $14.5 million in 2022. However, the Saints restructured $10.465 million in combined roster bonus and base salary to a signing bonus, while also adding a void year. That has left Kamara with a $6.128 million cap number in 2022.

What options do the Saints have with Kamara?

It never seemed likely the Saints would cut Kamara this offseason, but this move now confirms it. However, this restructure further complicates the picture in 2023 and beyond. Kamara’s cap number for 2023 is now set to be $16.093 million. That number is not insignificant, but releasing or trading him would leave $14.372 million in dead money.

Therefore, this deal essentially ensures Kamara will be on the roster in 2023 as well. Looking further into the future, the Saints could look to get out of the deal in 2024. Assuming they do not restructure the deal again, Kamara will have a $16.893 million cap number in 2024. Releasing him would save just over $7.5 million of that, with a dead money charge of $9.279 million.

If they do not move on in 2024, the Saints would likely move on before Kamara is owed $22.4 million in salary in 2025. His cap number that season is projected to be $27.093 million. The potential cap savings at that point would be close to $23 million with a release.

Ben is the Managing Editor at Pro Football Network. He is also a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA). You can read all of Ben’s work here and follow him on Twitter: @BenRolfePFN.