Cincinnati Bengals Finally Cut Ties With Rey Maualuga

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Aug 29, 2015; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals middle linebacker Rey Maualuga (58) against the Chicago Bears in a preseason NFL football game at Paul Brown Stadium. The Bengals won 21-10. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 29, 2015; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals middle linebacker Rey Maualuga (58) against the Chicago Bears in a preseason NFL football game at Paul Brown Stadium. The Bengals won 21-10. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Cincinnati Bengals made another move that came as no surprise to many. Rey Maualuga was released on Saturday, after eight seasons.

Just when you feel you have the Cincinnati Bengals figured out, they throw a low slider. After many fans thought his days were numbered, it finally happened. The Bengals released linebacker Rey Maualuga on Saturday, per Bengals.com. He spent eight seasons with Cincinnati. But, with the recent signing of Kevin Minter, there was a hint of dissatisfaction with his performance over the past years.

Maualuga may not be the last of many changes to take shape along the Bengals’ front seven, Recently, long-time veteran Domata Peko was allowed to walk in free agency. With Rey’s release, the Bengals are looking the like the Cleveland Browns. Last year, the Cleveland franchise took some heat–and a few jokes–about parting ways with players over the age of 30. Karlos Dansby was part of the Browns’ spring cleaning and wound up with the Bengals.

Now, it seems like Cincy may be following the model set by their northern rivals. As the NFL moves away from the prototype, huge, lumbering middle linebackers, it’s all about speed. Maualuga and Vontaze Burfict reported to OTA’s overweight. Maualuga may have burned a few bridges. Linebacker’s coach Jim Haslett has asked the players to lose weight for health and performance reasons. Rey’s strength is on the line stuffing the run. Carrying the added mass may have been the reason behind his poor showing in 2016. 

A Nickel For Your Thoughts 

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Could Bengals’ brass be listening to the call of the Wild Wild NFL? With Maualuga’s release, the defense is getting younger and faster. The days of just using a base 4-3 defense are quickly becoming a thing of the past. With the onset of speedy wide receivers going deep and slot guys that can burn a lumbering linebacker, the nickel is overtaking your dad’s vanilla D.

That Writing On The Wall

When Minter was signed to a contract that will pay him upwards of $4.5 million, there had to be a move made somewhere. Personally, I figured it was something surrounding Burfict. But, Maualuga being released makes sense. It’s about youth and wheels in the NFL. Rey is a hard-nosed, 30-year-old thumper. His days in the league are far from over. He has a ton of gas left in the tank. But, those years won’t be with the Bengals.

"“Rey has been a tough and productive player for us, and a fine teammate, and this is a difficult decision,” Bengals coach Marvin Lewis explained, via The Cincinnati Enquirer. “It’s one of several we have made to transition to a younger group at linebacker as we continue to shape our 2017 roster. We wish Rey and his family the very best.”"

Next: Need That Young D

The trend in the NFL seems to be a speed and youth movement. Maybe this is the wake-up call to what the other teams are doing.

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