Emmanuel Lamurburfict will likely be a Bengal in 2015 after the team applied a second round tender to the three-year veteran. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
The Bengals decided today to apply a second-round tender to restricted free agent linebacker Emmanuel Lamur. The decision was the correct one, as it’ll likely ensure Lamur’s retention in 2015; it’s unlikely that another team would want to sign Lamur while having to also surrender a second round selection to the Bengals.
When deciding on restricted free agent tenders in 2014, the team chose to act in a conservative fashion and place original-round tenders on Andrew Hawkins, Vincent Rey, and Dane Sanzenbacher. As all three came to the NFL as undrafted players, none would earn the Bengals any compensation if signed by another team. This strategy was fine for the little used Sanzenbacher, but was a mistake with the more productive Hawkins and Rey.
Ultimately the team lost Andrew Hawkins to a significant, yet likely fair offer, from the Cleveland Browns. Based on Hawkins contract, which has an average salary of $3.4 million, it’s entirely possible the team would’ve been willing to surrender a second-round selection for Hawkins. And if they weren’t, the Bengals would’ve enjoyed his services this past season, something they clearly missed. The Bengals immediately recognized their decision on Hawkins as a mistake and acted quickly in re-signing Vincent Rey before he was lost also.
This year the Bengals showed maturation and evidence of their new commitment to winning by placing a higher tender on Emmanuel Lamur. In the past, the Bengals may have chosen the more frugal route when deciding on tags, but the Bengals understand Lamur’s importance and promise going forward. Although he didn’t sine in 2014 the way many hoped he would, Lamur offers great upside at only 26 years old this year.
Because he was acquired in 2012, many fans forget that 2014 was Lamur’s first year of starting and real playing experience. Lamur made his initial mark during the 2012 playoff game against the Texans. He then missed the 2013 season after suffering a shoulder injury during the preseason. Expecting Lamur to have played fantastically during what essentially amounted to little more than his rookie season would be setting oneself up for disappointment.
Going forward, it’s entirely possible that Emmanuel Lamur may occupy a lesser role. He could be employed as the Bengals’ nickel linebacker exclusively. Depending on Vontaze Burfict’s health going in the 2015 season, the Bengals already have three dependable linebackers in he, Rey Maualuga, and Vincent Rey would could line up in the team’s base set. Marquis Flowers and Jayson DiManche are also doing what they can to earn some time while Taylor Mays has performed admirably during limited opportunities; however, Mays is a free agent this off-season. More than this, the Bengals will likely invest in a linebacker during this year’s draft. All of this means Lamur will have competition for playing time, and as a former safety, Lamur is best fit for the nickel backer role.
Regardless of what Emmanuel Lamur’s role is in 2015, placing a second-round tender on him was the right decision and should bring positivity out of fans. The Bengals decision here is another example of their commitment to winning, something that wasn’t always present. Meanwhile, Lamur’s prospects should greatly improved going forward with a more defined role and a year of starting experience. There’s plenty to be excited about within this decision. Hopefully that excitement will be fueled by the moves to come during the remainder of the off-season.
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