NFL Rumors: Chiefs-Austin Ekeler, Saints cap casualty, Jayden Daniels surprise

  • Jayden Daniels tumbles to the NY Giants in the latest mock draft
  • Alvin Kamara could be casualty of Saints' tight cap space
  • Chiefs dubbed 'best fit' for Austin Ekeler

Austin Ekeler, Los Angeles Chargers
Austin Ekeler, Los Angeles Chargers / Ronald Martinez/GettyImages
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NFL rumors: Saints' cap situation could force out Alvin Kamara

The New Orleans Saints finished last season 9-8, a tiebreaker away from winning the NFC South. On one hand, the division probably won't be too much tougher in 2024. On the other, New Orleans cannot let the persistent mediocrity of their division get in the way of actual growth. There's a huge difference between winning nine games and hosting a postseason matchup, and actually having a chance to do something in the playoffs.

It is a pivotal offseason for the Saints. New offensive coordinator Klint Kubiak is tasked with building a more balanced scheme around Derek Carr, whose pass-happy ways were ill-suited to Pete Carmichael's setup and the roster around him last season. The Saints also have to deal with a league-leading $84 million over the cap and the potential ramifications of such an expensive roster.

NFL.com's Matt Okada highlighted RB Alvin Kamara as a potential "cap casualty" for New Orleans.

"It's wild to say that 1,100 scrimmage yards and six touchdowns was a vast underperformance, but the Kamara that New Orleans extended on a back in 2020 was putting up seasons of around 1,600 yards and 15 touchdowns. His 2023 yardage total was actually a career low, and he hasn't hit double-digit TDs since that 2020 campaign. The Saints would ostensibly have to cut their star running back with a post-June 1 designation, when the move would open up $11.7 million in cap space (despite $7.1M in dead money), but it may be necessary for a team projected to be a league-high $84 million over the cap and an RB carrying the league's highest cap hit at the position."

The five-time Pro Bowler carries an $18.9 million cap hit for next season, by far the highest at his position. With the RB market on a sharp decline, the Saints can't really justify keeping Kamara around — especially when they can clear almost $12 million in cap space by waiving him. The Giants are going to pass on Saquon Barkley's $12 million franchise tag, if that's any indication of how even the best RBs are (under)valued in 2024.

Kamara was excellent last season, accumulating 1,160 yards from scrimmage and six touchdowns in 13 games (12 starts). Unfortunately, injuries have started to take their toll on the 28-year-old. He averaged 3.9 yards per carry, the second-worst mark of his career. Last season was his first without at least 1,300 total yards. Kamara is still one of the most versatile RBs in football, but with how the league views his position, there's no way the Saints don't jump ship on his contract. That opens the door for Kamara to find a new home for the first time in seven years in the NFL.