Former Bengals linebacker Emmanuel Lamur is signing a contract with the Minnesota Vikings and will reunite with Mike Zimmer.
The Cincinnati Enquirer is reporting that Lamur will sign a $6 million deal for two years with $2.2 million guaranteed.
The Bengals' linebacker was speculated to be moving on from the team and now, the news has been confirmed. Bengals fans will need to prepare for life without the dynamic undrafted free agent out of Kansas State University. Lamur missed the Bengals' Wild Card loss against the Steelers due to suffering a knee injury, but he has been cleared to practice and train since.
Lamur arrived in Cincinnati as an undrafted free agent in the 2012 offseason and after spending time on the practice squad, he got his chance to make an impact on the active roster following Dontay Moch's move to the Injured/Reserve list that season.
By the end of the season, he had proven himself enough to fill in as the outside linbebacker in the nickle role. He injured his shoulder in the 2013 offseason, but became the starting strong side linebacker when he came back for the 2014 season.
In 2015, he was relegated to a role as the backup strong side linebacker behind A.J. Hawk, although he did start in two games. He spent most of his time this season on special teams, where unfortunately, his season ended in Week 17 against the Baltimore Ravens when he suffered a knee injury. Many expected the injury to result in severely reduced leverage for a lucrative free agent contract in the 2016 free agency period, but Zimmer and the Vikings appear to have found enough reason to look past the injury. Lamur has also stated and shown on social media that he's been cleared to workout.
As an undrafted free agent out of Kansas State University, Lamur exceeded expectations in his time with the Bengals. 59 tackles and two interceptions in 13 starts during the 2014 season is far more than you'd expect out of a converted safety who no one wanted in the draft. Despite the setbacks, he's made the most of his very minor opportunity with an NFL team to earn a living in the league.
Following the 2014 season, the Bengals re-signed Lamur for a single season contract worth $2.36 million. Combined with the $1.4 million that he made on his first contract and, assuming the details posted by the Cincinnati Enquirer are accurate, that's $7.76 million that Lamur has the potential to earn in the NFL through this new contract, despite having never been valued enough by scouts to even be drafted.
There had been reports that Lamur was potentially interested in signing with the Dolphins due to his connection with their new defensive coordinator, Vance Joseph. This was generally because Joseph had previously been one of the Bengals' two defensive backs coaches during Lamur's recent tenure with the team. Despite this speculation, Lamur did decide to sign with a former Bengals coach in free agency. However, in this case, it was the former Bengals' defensive coordinator who gave him his first shot with an NFL team.
While P.J. Dawson is the logical choice to replace Lamur for the Bengals, we could still see the team look to the draft to bolster the depth. It's unlikely that the team would be looking to draft a linebacker in the first three rounds, but the possibility of the team taking a linebacker later on remains a strong possibility.