Star walks back Alvin Kamara can face a suspension sometime in the 2022 NFL season. The New Orleans Saints may get more clarity on the situation in August, when Kamara’s trial is currently expected to take place after two postponements since the February incident. Until then, the team can continue to look for ways to survive a possible six-game spell without Kamara. So far they have brought in veteran backs Sony Michel and David Johnson for visits, although in both cases no deal came.
However, the Saints are not limited to the open market. That’s the route Ian Wharton of Bleacher Report took when he mentioned one transaction each team must do before the training camp starts† In his proposal, the Saints would send a 2023 fifth round roster to the Las Vegas Raiders for the versatile Kenyan Drake. This is what Wharton wrote:
“Trading Drake would save $2.75 million against a $1.1 million dead-cap hit, which is a much better option than cutting the veteran.
New Orleans stands out as an excellent landing place. With Alvin Kamara’s future in doubt after he was arrested in February and charged with a battery, resulting in significant bodily harm, the Saints could use a versatile pass-catching back with explosiveness. They recently worked out David Johnson, but Drake is a much better option by comparison.”
Drake would definitely fit into the Saints offensive. He averaged a respectable 4.5 yards per carry in his 89 game career, although that average dropped a bit (to 4.0 yards per attempt) behind some mediocre offensive lines in the past two years with Las Vegas and Arizona. He also caught 199 passes for 1,535 yards (average 7.7 yards per reception), a total of 4,919 yards from scrimmage and 36 combined touchdowns as a runner and receiver (29 on the ground, 7 through the air). But he’s been at his best with a limited workload, just like Kamara.
And it’s likely the Saints wouldn’t be looking for a bell cow style to get 80% or more of the attacking snaps. But instead someone who can influence the game on 20% to 40% of the snaps of a game in rotation with a combination of the running backs on the current New Orleans depth chart. That includes Mark Ingram II, Tony Jones Jr., Dwayne Washington, Devine Ozigbo and unwritten rookie Abram Smith. Adding Drake to the pre-camp competition in exchange for a draft roster on Day 3 could be a worthwhile move.
Saints’ 53-man roster projection after mandatory minicamp