The Minnesota Vikings made a mistake signing former Bengals linebacker Emmanuel Lamur to a free agent deal worth $2.2 million guaranteed, at least according to one site.
Pro Football Focus recently handed out grades for each-and-every free agent move by each-and-every team, and they didn’t have anything nice to say about the Vikings signing former Bengals LB Emmanuel Lamur.
"While Lamur is familiar with Mike Zimmer from their time in Cincinnati, he really isn’t a guy who has gotten better the more he played. In fact, the past two years he’s really struggled, to the point where he’s really a guy you bring into compete for a spot on a roster, rather than offering enough in guarantees that you’re pretty much obliged to keep him."
PFF gave the Vikings a “D” for the Lamur signing. To put that in perspective, PFF also gave the Texans a “D” for signing Brock Osweiler to a four-year, $72 million deal worth $37 million guaranteed.
I’m sure the Vikings’ move to sign Lamur will have ramifications similar to those which are felt in Houston once the idiocy of the Osweiler signing sets in.
Obviously PFF is basing their Lamur conclusion largely upon their own grades. They have not graded Lamur very highly the last two years, therefore in their eyes he lacks value consistent with his contract.
Of course when you sign a free agent you’re not concerned so much about past performance as future potential. The Vikings reasoned that Lamur’s future potential was worth gambling on to the tune of $2.2 million in guaranteed money.
Role plays a part in this as well. A converted safety, Lamur was brought to Cincinnati specifically because he had hybrid characteristics that made him valuable in certain situations. Simply put, Lamur is athletic enough to cover tight ends but big enough to play the run.
Mike Zimmer obviously sees in Lamur a player who can fill a particular role in his defense, namely to bring more athleticism to the Will linebacker position while also providing match-up specific value as a coverage man. The Vikings aren’t taking a blind shot with Lamur and hoping to find a spot for him; Zimmer knows him and knows how he wants to use him.
And if Lamur for some reason fails to impress in his role and becomes strictly a bench player, a very real possibility, at least he gives you value as a backup and special teams man. $2.2 million in guaranteed money spread over two years is not unreasonable for such a player, especially with the cap going up.
While I think it’s perfectly legitimate to question whether Lamur will ever make a meaningful impact in Minnesota, it’s silly to slap a “D” grade on the signing and suggest that the Vikings just flushed a significant amount of money down the toilet.
(Note: PFF also gave the Vikings a “D” for signing Andrew Sendejo to a four-year deal worth $3.9 million guaranteed; that contract I think warrants closer scrutiny than the Lamur contract, though even the Sendejo deal works out to be relatively low-impact when you consider the way it’s constructed.)
At worst, the Lamur move merits a skeptical “C” or “C-.” Even if Lamur does little, his signing by definition can never truly be a “bad” one, because the money is simply not on that level.