Monday, July 4, 2022

Saints hosting former Cardinals, Texans running back David Johnson amid Alvin Kamara uncertainty, per report

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Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Alvin Kamara hasn’t taken the field for the Saints this offseason, and the star running back may not do so for a while, awaiting potential NFL discipline for his involvement in an alleged February assault. His team, meanwhile, spent Monday exploring a possible emergency replacement, with New Orleans hosting former Cardinals and Texans running back David Johnson on a free agent visit, according to Nick Underhill.

Kamara has been the Saints’ offensive centerpiece when healthy, topping 1,200 yards from scrimmage in each of his five NFL seasons. But the former Offensive Rookie of the Year could be suspended multiple games while facing charges of battery resulting in substantial bodily harm, which stem from a Las Vegas nightclub assault on the eve of the 2022 Pro Bowl. The next hearing related to the case is scheduled for August, during Saints training camp, and a conviction could carry a prison sentence.

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Behind Kamara, the Saints’ running back depth is thin. Top reserve Mark Ingram is a bruising franchise favorite, but he’s 32 and hasn’t averaged even four yards per carry since 2020. The other backups on the roster are Tony Jones Jr., a former undrafted reserve who’s totaled 155 rushing yards in two seasons; and Dwayne Washington, a former Lions backup who’s taken just 20 carries the last three years while starring in a special teams role.

David Johnson, meanwhile, would at least offer plenty of starting experience. The 30-year-old former All-Pro has struggled to replicate the explosive versatility of his career breakout since 2016, missing 26 games over the last five seasons. But he’s logged 63 starts over the course of his career, first with the Cardinals (2015-2019) and then with the Texans (2020-2021). He’s also a proven pass catcher, topping 30 receptions in all but one of his seven NFL seasons.

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