It seems an annual conversation surrounding the Cincinnati Bengals each offseason is whether or not the team will replace Rey Maualuga.
Remember last season? Maualuga hit the open market, made a trip to Arizona and eventually re-signed with the Bengals after either not liking what he saw or simply wanting to remain with a familiar staff.
Maualuga has one year left on his deal, but that does not mean the team won’t be on the prowl for his replacement. The USC product had a career year last season, but once again struggled in terms of missing tackles. According to Rotoworld, which has numbers from Pro Football Focus, Maualuga once again ranked near the bottom of the league in that regard:
Maualuga missed on 13-of-88 tackle opportunities in 13 games. Only Mychal Kendricks (16.5) and Derrick Johnson (16.4) missed tackles at a greater clip among inside linebackers. One season removed from being PFF’s lowest graded inside linebacker out of 53 qualifiers, Maualuga again proved to be a liability.
These struggles do not 100 percent mean the team will look to replace Maualuga, but the staff may have something to think about if a prospect like Alabama’s C.J. Mosley falls to them in the first round of the upcoming draft.
Even if that doesn’t happen, perhaps the team will reduce Maualuga’s playing time in favor of Vincent Rey, who recently inked a two-year extension with the team. Rey was more of a rotational player last year on passing downs, but his every-down play last year when Maualuga was hurt speaks for itself.
Regardless, just keep the thought in mind come draft day. Cincinnati has a large amount of versatility with its first few picks, and a surprise like an inside linebacker is not out of the question.