Alvin Kamara, Dalvin Cook cash in on NFL season’s eveBy Matt Verderame
Alvin Kamara and Dalvin Cook are bucking a recent league trend. In recent years, the NFL hadn’t been rewarding running backs. This started to change in the last year with Le’Veon Bell and the New York Jets in 2019 free agency, followed by the four-year, $64 million extension for Christian McCaffrey back in April.
Now, two more backs have cashed in only one day before the start of the 2020 NFL season.
On Saturday morning, the Minnesota Vikings came to terms with star runner Dalvin Cook. The two sides agreed on a five-year extension worth $63 million, with $28 million guaranteed. The deal keeps the former Florida State Seminoles with Minnesota for the better part of the next decade. The deal is a result of Cook rushing for 2,104 yards and 17 scores in his first three pro seasons.
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Cook is an integral part of the Vikings offense. With Kirk Cousins under center and a shaky offensive line in front of him, Minnesota is going to rely heavily on offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak’s zone-run scheme. While the ball will be spread around to receivers Adam Thielen and Justin Jefferson, Cook will be an important release valve, catching 104 passes for 914 yards in his career.
Then, only hours after the Vikings and Cook agreed, the New Orleans Saints and Alvin Kamara make sure his future rests in the Big Easy.
Kamara cashed in to the tune of five years and $75 million with $34.3 million in guarantees. The Saints have long been willing to take care of their own, and general manager Mickey Loomis did so again after somewhat of a contentious summer between the two sides. Heck, not long ago, rumors swirled about the Saints being willing to trade Kamara for the right price.
With the Saints, Kamara has proven to be one of the better third-round value picks in recent years. New Orleans has made the playoffs as a top contender in each of his campaigns, reaching the NFC Championship Game back in 2018. The former Tennessee Volunteers standout has run for 2,408 yards on 5.0 yards per carry and 27 touchdowns. In the open field, Kamara has caught 243 passes for over 2,000 yards and 10 scores.
As a new season begins tomorrow, the NFL has two highly-paid running backs looking to earn their new contracts. Both will have ample opportunity to make a strong impression from the jump, with Minnesota taking on the Green Bay Packers, followed by the Saints and Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday afternoon.