Cincinnati’s injury-riddled defense could see a former Bengal for the final three weeks.
Maualuga was the Bengals’ second-round pick in 2009. In eight seasons with Cincinnati, he had 353 tackles (10th in franchise history), four sacks, six forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries and seven interceptions.
Maualuga landed with the Dolphins last August on a one-year deal. The USC product played in just six games with Miami, collecting 23 tackles.
The veteran linebacker was arrested on a battery charge in South Beach in mid-November. He was released a few days later.
The Bengals are reeling at linebacker right now. That was apparent last Sunday when Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen combined for 227 rushing yards and a pair of touchdowns in the Bears’ 33-7 win at Paul Brown Stadium.
One week later, injuries are still derailing the position. Vontaze Burfict (concussion) and Nick Vigil (ankle) did not practice on Wednesday. Kevin Minter, who has played less than 200 snaps this season, was also absent.
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Maualuga never measured up to the hype when he arrived in the Queen City. Despite a high volume of tackles, Maualuga was sub-par at best in pass coverage. Although he did not miss a lot of games, Maualuga’s play seemed to deteriorate in his last few seasons with the Bengals.
He signed a three-year extension with Cincinnati prior to the 2015 campaign, but was released with one year left.
The Bengals were trying to get younger at linebacker by cutting ties with their second-round investment from nearly a decade ago.
Cutting Maualuga saved the team $3.7 million in cap space and had zero dead money attached to it. That freed up money to sign Minter, 27, to a $4 million deal this offseason. The Bengals also got younger by drafting Jordan Evans in the sixth round.
Maualuga wouldn’t be a game-changing signing that would propel Cincinnati on a season-ending surge . At this point, Paul Guenther is trying to find healthy bodies to face the Vikings, Lions and Ravens. Knowing the Bengals’ defensive scheme is an added bonus, too.