Emmanuel Lamur

AFC West Notes: Chiefs, Ingram, Raiders

Having funneled their pass offense through Travis Kelce for several seasons and having not invested much in their No. 2 wide receiver job in many years, the Chiefs surprised most observers by authorizing a monster contract for Sammy Watkins. The fifth-year wideout’s three-year, $48MM deal — with $30MM guaranteed — is having a league-wide effect, Joel Corry of CBS Sports writes. Julio Jones, who is signed to a $14.25MM-per-year deal, is now seeking additional dollars. And Corry adds Odell Beckham Jr.‘s hopes to become the league’s first $20MM-AAV wide receiver is not a crazy demand anymore now that Watkins has signed a top-five contract without supplying production to justify it. Corry adds that Watkins’ $16MM-AAV contract will become Brandin Cooks‘ floor, assuming he fares well in Los Angeles this season.

As for the Chiefs, Watkins justifying the contract could be difficult, as Corry writes, since the newcomer may be the No. 4 option in his next offense. Kelce and Kareem Hunt are entrenched as the top components of Kansas City’s attack, and Tyreek Hill put together a strong 2017 featuring 1,183 air yards and seven touchdowns. Watkins caught 39 passes for 583 yards last season, and his career-best numbers were 1,047 and nine with the 2015 Bills. Hill becomes extension-eligible after this season and his contract expires after 2019. Those talks could be tricky if he outproduces Watkins this season. Only two teams — the Packers and Broncos — are paying two wideouts eight figures annually, and the Chiefs could be set to encounter an interesting dilemma once Hill talks begin.

Here’s the latest from the AFC West:

  • Melvin Ingram may not be attending the Chargers‘ OTA sessions. The star pass rusher missed Tuesday’s session and is training in Florida, Eric Williams of ESPN.com reports, adding that Ingram cleared his absence with Anthony Lynn. Ingram skipped the start of these workouts last year, but he was not under contract because he had yet to sign his franchise tender. He’s now signed a long-term Bolts deal.
  • Bruce Irvin played as a 4-3 outside linebacker the past two seasons with the Raiders, but new DC Paul Guenther is moving him to defensive end, Paul Gutierrez of ESPN.com notes (on Twitter). Irvin often played end during his first two seasons in Oakland, but did so in sub-packages while lining up as a stand-up ‘backer in most base sets, similar to the Broncos’ usage of Von Miller from 2011-14. Irvin began his career as a defensive end before the Seahawks relocated him. Now that Irvin is at end, Gutierrez notes Tahir Whitehead and Emmanuel Lamur lined up as outside linebackers with the Raiders’ first-stringers at Tuesday’s OTA session.
  • Also at Raiders OTAs, Gareon Conley participated fully, per Gutierrez. A shin injury wiped out most of the 2017 first-rounder’s rookie season, and only recently did the former Ohio State standout receive full clearance.
  • Donald Penn will be limited during these workouts, with Gutierrez noting the longtime Oakland left tackle is still recovering from Lisfranc surgery. Penn is not expected to be ready to participate fully until training camp. For now, second-year player David Sharpe took the reps in 11-on-11 work while Breno Giacomini opened with the starters at right tackle. The Raiders are planning to have Kolton Miller train as a left tackle to start his career.
  • The Chiefs will be without their backup tight end in Week 1. Demetrius Harris received a one-game suspension for a 2017 marijuana arrest that induced a multi-day jail stay, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. Harris established new career-high marks last season with 18 receptions for 224 yards. The Chiefs added former Jets second-rounder Jace Amaro this offseason, but Harris has been with the team for the past four seasons. Amaro hasn’t played since 2016.
  • Clinton McDonald did not participate in Broncos OTAs on Tuesday, and Mike Klis of 9News notes the veteran defensive lineman is still recovering from a March shoulder operation. The Broncos knew of this procedure when they signed him in March, per Klis. He adds McDonald is expected to be ready for camp.

Raiders To Sign LB Emmanuel Lamur

The Raiders have reached an agreement with free agent linebacker Emmanuel Lamur, according to Michael Gehlken of the Las Vegas Review Journal (Twitter link).

Lamur had also been scheduled to meet with the Dolphins later this week, but Oakland never let him leave its building without a contract in hand. The Raiders employ former Bengals coaches Paul Guenther and David Lippincott as defensive coordinator and linebackers coach, respectively, so Lamur — who played for Cincinnati from 2012-15 — should offer scheme familiarity.

While Lamur once started 13 games and played 91% of the Bengals’ defensive snaps, he’s been relegated to backup/special teams duty since that 2013 campaign. Last season, Lamur appeared in all 16 games for the Vikings (who also have another former Cincinnati coach — Mike Zimmer — at the helm), but only played 78 defensive snaps.

Despite his lack of production in recent campaigns, Lamur could have a decent shot at playing time in Oakland given the club’s lack of options at linebacker. While the Raiders recently signed fellow free agent Tahir Whitehead, they could lose NaVorro Bowman to the open market, while Bruce Irvin is expected to see most of his time at defensive end.

Emmanuel Lamur To Meet With Dolphins, Raiders

Vikings free agent linebacker Emmanuel Lamur will visit the Raiders on Wednesday and will travel to meet with Dolphins afterwards (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Mike Garafolo). Lamur has ties to both clubs thanks to defensive coordinators Paul Guenther and Matt Burke who know Lamur from their time with the Bengals. 

We first heard of the Raiders’ interest in Lamur last week. He’d be a logical fit for Oakland’s new-look defense, but the Dolphins are also showing interest after parting ways with veteran linebacker Lawrence Timmons. For now, the Dolphins project to start Chase Allen alongside Raekwon McMillan and Kiko Alonso with Neville Hewitt, Mike Hull, and Stephone Anthony in support. That unit will need an impact player or two, either through free agency or the draft.

In other Dolphins news, Kirk Cousins‘ agent reportedly researched the ‘Fins heading into free agency. We also learned that the release of Mike Pouncey was not related to locker room issues.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Raiders Interested In LB Emmanuel Lamur

Another team with ties to the Bengals staff that drafted Emmanuel Lamur is considering signing the veteran linebacker.

The Raiders have discussed adding Lamur despite having already signed outside linebacker Kyle Wilber on Saturday, Adam Caplan of ESPN.com tweets. Oakland has made several investments to help several areas on its defense, and Lamur has a key connection to the new Raiders staff.

New defensive coordinator Paul Guenther coached Lamur while in Cincinnati. Lamur spent the past two seasons with the Vikings, following former Bengals DC Mike Zimmer to Minneapolis. With Lamur having strictly served as Vikings depth during his stay in the Twin Cities, he likely would not cost much for the Raiders to add.

Oakland has already agreed to deals with Wilber and Tahir Whitehead, helping reshape a linebacking corps that has been fluid during Reggie McKenzie‘s GM run.

Contract Details: Freeman, Sims, Claiborne

Here are the latest contract details for players who have agreed to new deals and/or signed them in recent days. Unless otherwise specified, all links are courtesy of Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle…

NFC:

  • Jerrell Freeman, LB (Bears): Three years, $12MM. Deal maxes out at $14.25MM with incentives/escalators. $6MM guaranteed at signing (Twitter link via Tom Pelissero of USA Today).
  • Eugene Sims, DE (Rams): Three years, $10MM. $3.75MM in guarantees. $2.25MM salary for 2016 guaranteed. $750K roster bonus due this week. $500K roster bonuses due on the fifth day of the 2017 and 2018 league years. $750K annual incentives for sacks and playoffs (Twitter links).
  • Jon Ryan, P (Seahawks): Four years, $10MM. $3.4MM guaranteed. $2.4MM signing bonus. $1MM salary in 2016 guaranteed. $100K incentives for Pro Bowl and playoffs (Twitter link).
  • James Hanna, TE (Cowboys): Three years, $8.25MM. $2.25MM signing bonus (Twitter link).
  • Emmanuel Lamur, LB (Vikings): Two years, $5.5MM. $2MM guaranteed. $1MM roster bonus due Monday. $15,625 per-game active roster bonus in both seasons (Twitter link).
  • Gino Gradkowski, OL (Panthers): Three years, $3.15MM. $450K signing bonus. $25K annual workout bonus (Twitter link).
  • Morris Claiborne, CB (Cowboys): One year, $3MM. Deal maxes out at $3.375MM with incentives. $500K signing bonus. $1MM in per-game active bonuses (Twitter link via Pelissero).
  • Keenan Robinson, LB (Giants): One year, $2.6MM. $1MM roster bonus due on the 10th day of the 2016 league year. $21,500 per-game active bonus. Up to $900K in playing-time incentives (Twitter link).
  • Sean Weatherspoon, LB (Falcons): One year, $1.5MM. $500K in per-game active bonuses. $750K in playing-time incentives (Twitter link via Pelissero).
  • Travaris Cadet, RB (Saints): One year, $840K. $80K signing bonus (Twitter link)

AFC:

  • Eddie Pleasant, S (Texans): Two years, $2.15MM. $311K roster bonus for 2016. $36K roster bonus for 2017 (link).
  • Matt Cassel, QB (Titans): One year, $2MM. $750K signing bonus. $500K in incentives (Twitter link via Pelissero).
  • Shane Lechler, P (Texans): One year, $1.8MM. $500K signing bonus (link).
  • Nick Novak, K (Texans): One year, 965K. $80K roster bonus due Monday (link).

Vikings To Sign Emmanuel Lamur

THURSDAY, 12:46pm: The Vikings announced that their deal with Lamur is now official.

WEDNESDAY, 4:43pm: Lamur’s deal will be worth $6MM over two years, with $2.5MM guaranteed, according to Jim Osczarski of the Cincinnati Enquirer (on Twitter). The Bengals were not interested in retaining Lamur, per Osczarski; they did not make an offer.

3:56pm: It’s a two-year deal for Lamur and the Vikings, tweets Tomasson.

3:41pm: Emmanuel Lamur will join the Vikings’ linebacking corps next season, per Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press (Twitter links).

The former Bengals outside linebacker will re-join Mike Zimmer, who coached the fifth-year veteran from 2012-13. Terms of the deal have not been disclosed.

Lamur, who didn’t start for the Bengals last season after breaking with the first unit in 13 games in 2014, did not fare well — according to Pro Football Focus — last season. The website graded the Bengals backer as its No. 82 overall linebacker. Lamur, an undrafted free agent in 2012, did not fare well during his full-time season as a starter, either, grading as PFF’s No. 39 linebacker out of 40 qualified 4-3 second-level performers.
The 6-foot-4 Lamur did record two interceptions during his third year and signed a second-round tenure to stay in Cincinnati last season. 2015 free agent acquisition A.J. Hawk replaced him in the Bengals’ starting lineup.

Entering his age-27 season, Lamur will likely be given an opportunity to start alongside Anthony Barr and Eric Kendricks.

This doesn’t necessarily rule out a Chad Greenway return to the Twin Cities for a prospective 11th season, especially since Greenway’s likely a candidate for a one-year deal, but it clouds the prospect.

Photo courtesy USA Today Sports Images

FA Rumors: RGIII, Beachum, Lamur, C. Long

The Rams have not shown any interest in free agent quarterback Robert Griffin III at this point, reports Vincent Bonsignore of the Los Angeles Daily News (Twitter link). Ten clubs are reportedly giving Griffin a “hard look.”

Here are a few more free agent rumors from around the NFL:

  • Having reached a deal to bring back veteran guard Ramon Foster, the Steelers think they might be able to re-sign left tackle Kelvin Beachum on a one-year deal, tweets Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Beachum is coming off a torn ACL, which may be limiting his market.
  • Free agent linebacker and special-teamer Emmanuel Lamur is not expected to re-sign with the Bengals, according to Jim Owczarski of the Cincinnati Enquirer, who writes that the Lions, Vikings, and Dolphins are among the teams that have expressed interest in Lamur since the legal tampering window opened.
  • Former Rams defensive end Chris Long enjoyed his visit to Washington and has genuine interest in joining the club, but he has more free agent visits planned, so it doesn’t sound like any deal is imminent, tweets Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com.
  • The Raiders have already made a pair of big splashes in free agency, reaching agreements with Kelechi Osemele and Bruce Irvin. Bill Williamson of Fanrag Sports suggests (via Twitter) that cornerback Janoris Jenkins is another name to watch for Oakland.

Minor NFL Transactions: 1/4/16

The 12 NFL teams still alive in the postseason can continue to make changes to their 53-man rosters this week, and a couple of them have already done so today, so let’s round up Monday’s minor moves….

  • The Bengals have placed linebacker and special-teamer Emmanuel Lamur on injured reserve, promoting linebacker Trevor Roach from their practice squad in a corresponding move, according to Paul Dehner Jr. of the Cincinnati Enquirer (Twitter link). Cincinnati’s IR has been fairly sparsely populated this year, with Lamur joining Darqueze Dennard, Marquis Flowers, and James Wright on the list.
  • Per agent Brett Tessler (Twitter link), the Texans are signing offensive tackle Andrew McDonald to their 53-man roster in advance of their playoff game against the Chiefs. When Houston makes the move official, the team figures to place injured tackle Duane Brown on IR to make room on the roster, tweets Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle. McDonald finished the regular season on the Chargers’ practice squad.

Bengals Re-Sign Emmanuel Lamur

Linebacker Emmanuel Lamur has officially signed his one-year contract tender and will return to Cincinnati for the 2015 season, according to Paul Dehner Jr. of the Cincinnati Enquirer (Twitter link). Lamur, who received a second-round RFA tender from the Bengals, will be in line for a $2.356MM salary.

In over 900 defensive snaps for the Bengals last season, Lamur graded as a below-average player in pass coverage, run defense, and as a pass rusher, per Pro Football Focus (subscription required), which ranked him 39th out of 40 qualified 4-3 outside linebackers. However, the team clearly viewed the 25-year-old’s performance more favorably, with his 97 tackles and two interceptions earning him more than just the low-end RFA tender.

If Lamur, who went undrafted out of Kansas State, had received that low-end RFA offer, which doesn’t come with any draft pick compensation, he may have drawn interest from rival suitors. However, because the Bengals assigned him the $2.356MM tender, any team interested in signing Lamur would’ve had to surrender a second-round pick to land him, which likely diminished any outside interest.

Lamur had been the only Bengals’ restricted free agent who remained unsigned.

Kearse, Lamur Receive RFA Tenders

A pair of potential restricted free agents have received one-year contract tenders at the second-round level, according to Field Yates of ESPN.com, who reports (via Twitter) that the Seahawks have tendered wide receiver Jermaine Kearse, while the Bengals have tendered linebacker Emmanuel Lamur.

When a player is eligible for free agency, his team can choose to submit one of three contract tenders to him — the higher the offer, the higher the compensation for his club if he ends up signings elsewhere. In the cases of Kearse and Lamur, their respective teams offered them one-year deals worth $2.356MM, ensuring that if either player signs an offer sheet with another team and that sheet goes unmatched, the Seahawks or Bengals would receive a second-round pick as compensation.

Neither Kearse nor Lamur has signed their one-year tender yet, and I’d imagine the agents for both players will at least poke around on the open market next week to see if a rival suitor is willing to make a long-term offer. It’s possible though that both players will simply end up signing the one-year offer from their current clubs — they’ll have until April 24 to find offer sheets elsewhere.

Kearse, 25, caught just 38 balls for 537 yards and a touchdown for the Seahawks during the regular season last year, but hauled in a pair of TDs in the postseason. Most notably, after Russell Wilson‘s threw four interceptions trying to get him the ball in the NFC Championship game, Kearse hauled in his first reception of the day in overtime, in the end zone, to send Seattle to the Super Bowl.

As for Lamur, in over 900 defensive snaps for the Bengals, he graded as a below-average in pass coverage, run defense, and as a pass rusher, per Pro Football Focus (subscription required), which ranked him 39th out of 40 qualified 4-3 outside linebackers. However, the team clearly viewed the 25-year-old’s performance more favorably, with his 97 tackles and two interceptions earning him a one-year offer that will almost certainly keep him in Cincinnati.

The Bengals may have been wary about assigning the low-end tender to Lamur after doing so with Andrew Hawkins a year ago and eventually losing him to the Bengals. That tender would only have been worth about $1.54MM, but it would have allowed other teams to sign Lamur to an offer sheet without risking any draft picks.