The Bengals most and only athletic linebacker hits free agency after ending the 2015 season on Injured Reserve after a knee injury suffered during the Bengals' Week 17 win over the Baltimore Ravens. Will Emmanuel Lamur get an offer from the Bengals once he hits free agency in March, or is it time for both the Bengal and Lamur to move on?
Lamur has Tweeted that he's healthy, indicating the knee injury was minor, so hopefully for him, his offseason training won't be impacted by the January 2016 injury.
I'm full go now. Feeling really good and healthy. #GloryToGod— Emmanuel Lamur (@EmanLamur) February 6, 2016
Lamur didn't have a great season in 2015, playing more on special teams (where he excelled) than as a linebacker. In 2015, Lamur played in all 16 games, starting in 2 games during Vontaze Burfict's microfracture surgery recovery early in the season. He totaled 40 tackles, 0.5 sacks, 3 passes defensed and 1 forced fumble. Lamur joined the Bengals as an undrafted free agent out of Kansas State in 2012 and has played 3 seasons with the Bengals (missing the entire 2013 season due to a shoulder injury suffered during the pre-season). In his three seasons on the field, Lamur has accumulated 90 tackles, 11 passes defensed and 2 interceptions. Those aren't great numbers given he's played in 39 games.
What he offers: Lamur is a former college safety and he moves like it. He's comfortable in space, in coverage and runs very well. His added length, at six-foot-four, only makes him more valuable in space. He's started a handful of games at outside LB, but he's held one of the Nickel LB roles for most of the last three seasons.
Concerns: Lamur is a former safety and he plays like it. He's not physical or strong enough to consistently play in the box and he doesn't have that aggression the Bengals generally like in their linebackers. Lamur cannot defeat a block and misses tackles because he's often a split second slow to react and doesn't have the bulk to bring guys down easily. Injuries have also derailed Lamur's development, beyond his 2015 knee injury and 2013 shoulder injury, he also had a hamstring injury in 2014 that caused him to miss time. He's often injured and I believe it stems from his lanky body type and how awkward he looks making tackles. At most, he's a nickel linebacker, but you can't count on him to play the entire season.
His price tag in free agency should be relatively cheap and Cincinnati needs linebacker depth and athleticism. He won't be a priority to re-sign as fellow linebacker Vinny Rey will be of higher importance to the team, but he could be someone the Bengals bring back at a low cost to the team.
If you were the Bengals, would you re-sign Lamur and use him sparingly until he breaks down or would you let him walk and draft a new nickel linebacker?