Saints have a huge shoe drop coming soon in the RB unit
The Saints have made savvy moves this offseason to upgrade its offense, but one thing still looms in the back of the franchise’s mind: Alvin Kamara’s impending suspension.
New Orleans Saints fans are rightfully excited for the upcoming season after the last few years of quarterback instability. The era of Derek Carr begins in 2023, and fingers crossed, it will be a memorable one.
Other than seeing Derek Carr clad in black-and-gold for the first time, NOLA has other things to look forward to, like Michael Thomas’ healthy return and the steady developments of young receivers like Rashid Shaheed and Chris Olave.
In the running game, however, the Saints have a bleaker future since their on-the-ground production could hinge on the potential suspension of their top running back.
In February of 2022, Alvin Kamara was arrested on battery charges for an alleged assault in Las Vegas, a day before Kamara would play in the Pro Bowl at Allegiant Stadium.
Due to the nature of the ongoing legal proceedings, Kamara was allowed to play in full for the 2022 season. Now, however, the star running back has to face the music and potentially get slapped with a severe punishment depending on what the league decides.
In March of 2023, Kamara pleaded not guilty to his charge. He and the Saints await a July 31 trial date, at which point the judge will deliver a verdict.
Saints hold their breath for Alvin Kamara’s imminent suspension
It’s almost certain that Kamara will receive a suspension of some kind — the only question is how long.
Some around the league estimate a six-game suspension, and that could increase or decrease based on whether Kamara is found guilty come July.
It’s worth noting that July 31 falls during NFL training camp, when Saints running backs will be competing for top pecking order on the depth chart. And compete, they will.
Kamara stands as the team’s RB1 given his talent and experience, but recent acquisition and former Lions stud Jamaal Williams could make a push for that starting spot early on, especially if Kamara has to miss a large chunk of the 2023 season. NOLA then turned around and drafted Kendre Miller in the third round, who seems mentally ready to assume a workhorse role.
At 27 years old, Kamara could additionally experience a decline in his seventh season in NOLA. He did, after all, come off a down year in 2022 with just two rushing touchdowns all season long. Last season was also the first in which Kamara failed to earn a Pro Bowl nod after receiving that recognition in the previous five consecutive seasons.
With a more stable starting quarterback in Derek Carr, the Saints should be able to bounce back in 2023 despite their shaky running back situation. Losing Kamara for a handful of games will hurt, yet NOLA’s roster seems deep enough to stay competitive in his absence and still put together a playoff-contending campaign.
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