ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that the absences were unexcused and related to a contract dispute. Kamara has since returned to practice and on Monday addressed the issue with reporters.
Kamara denies holdout
He was reticent to discuss the state of his contract negotiations, according to the New Orleans Times-Picayune. But when pressed, he denied that his absence from the practice field had anything to do with his contract.
“I ain’t never held out in my life,” Kamara said. “That’s about it. I came to the building every day. That’s all I’ve got to say.”
Payton ‘confident’ a deal will get done
Head coach Sean Payton also declined to discuss details, but did acknowledge that talks were happening.
“I’m confident that at some point we’ll get this done and we’ll let you know when that happens,” Payton told reporters.
Kamara is entering the final year of his four-year, $3.86 million rookie deal and is slated to make $2.38 million in salary and bonuses this season, well below market value for the three-time Pro Bowler. He doesn’t have an extension, and multiple reports surfaced after his camp absence that the Saints were open to trading him.
Kamara’s team denied demanding a trade, and it appears that negotiations are now in a better place than they seemed a week ago.
Other backs get big deals
McCaffrey’s extension with the Carolina Panthers is for four years and $64 million, a record for annual salary for a running back. Mixon reportedly signed with the Cincinnati Bengals last week for four years and $48 million.
Kamara’s extension would presumably fall somewhere in between if a deal is reached. In three seasons, Kamara has tallied 4,476 yards from scrimmage and 37 touchdowns while averaging five yards per carry and hauling in 81 catches per year.
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