Bengals re-sign LB Rey Maualuga to 2-year deal
The move makes Rey Maualuga the fourth defensive player to re-sign with the team. Earlier, defensive ends Robert Geathers and Wallace Gilbery re-signed with the Cincinnati Bengals, while defensive end Michael Johnson was given the franchise tag. The Cincinnati Bengals parted ways with two linebackers after Manny Lawson signed with the Buffalo Bills and Dan Skuta landed with the San Francisco 49ers. Eight-year linebacker Thomas Howard remains an unrestricted free agent.
The Cincinnati Bengals also revealed their intention of bringing back cornerbacks Adam Jones and Terence Newman.
Rey Maualuga led the team second with 122 tackles (also career-highs) and led the front seven with five passes defensed. Still, Rey Maualuga’s been often criticized by fans in an up-and-down transition towards becoming a starter following missed tackles and slip-ups on plays. But Rey Maualuga has maintained the confidence of the coaching staff into his fifth-season with the Cincinnati Bengals.
“Rey has been a fine young player for us, and he continues to grow on and off the field," Cincinnati Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis said on Monday. "He is passionate about becoming a great player, and we're excited to have him back as we work with these signings to keep our defense together."
“He is, as you will find out when this free agency period starts, that he's a lot better than what a lot of people give him credit for,” Cincinnati Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer of Maualuga had noted during the NFL scouting combine last month. “I think that's going to be what people are going to find out if he goes. If he's not here people are going to miss him and say we should have had him. That's how it works, like Justin Smith."
Picked in the second round of the 2009 drafts by the Cincinnati Bengals, Rey Maualuga combined for 348 tackles, three sacks and three interceptions, while starting 58 of 60 games in his career.
Despite his solid production, there wasn’t much interest on the open market in Rey Maualuga. The 26-year-old Rey Maualuga visited the Arizona Cardinals last week but returned empty handed. His opportunities were further trimmed after the New York Giants re-signed Keith Rivers and agreed to a deal with former Dallas Cowboys linebacker Dan Connor. The Baltimore Ravens supposedly also had interest in Rey Maualuga but they never called on him for a visit.
While the Cincinnati Bengals have re-signed Rey Maualuga, the team could reportedly still draft a linebacker in the early-to-mid rounds.