The deal is worth a total of $77.133 million for six seasons and includes $34.333 million in guaranteed money, sources told Schefter.
Although negotiations got tense late in training camp, when Kamara was an unexcused absence for four days and a source confirmed that the Saints were open to the possibility of trading him, the two sides ultimately found middle ground heading into the final year of his rookie contract.
Now the Saints are close to securing a huge piece of their offense for the second year in a row after signing wide receiver Michael Thomas to a long-term extension last summer.
Kamara, 25, was the NFL’s Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2017 after being drafted in the third round out of Tennessee. He has been one of the league’s most dynamic dual threats as a runner and receiver, with a total of 2,408 rushing yards, 2,068 receiving yards and 38 touchdowns.
He had exactly 81 catches in each of his first three seasons — despite missing two games last year and being hampered by knee and ankle injuries over the final half of the season.
The extra value that Kamara brings in the receiving game made the Saints feel better about investing in him long term despite the daunting salary-cap situation they are about to face in 2021 and beyond.
The Saints went into Saturday with less than $6 million in cap space this year. And they are already scheduled to be more than $65 million over next year’s cap if it drops as low as $175 million per team because of lost revenues during the pandemic.
Furthermore, they are nearing the ends of contracts with fellow standouts like linebacker Demario Davis, cornerback Marshon Lattimore, offensive tackles Ryan Ramczyk and Terron Armstead and safety Marcus Williams.
This has been a busy offseason when it comes to lucrative running back extensions around the league. Christian McCaffrey, Derrick Henry, Joe Mixon and Dalvin Cook have also reached long-term deals with their teams.