The Bengals kept one of their own on defense when they announced the re-signing of linebacker Rey Maualuga to a new three-year deal on Thursday. Terms of the new contract have not been disclosed. Maualuga was set to become an unrestricted free agent next week.
“Rey is a physical force on the field and a great teammate in our locker room,” Bengals coach Marvin Lewis said in a statement. “He’s a hard-working, dedicated player who continues to get better. As we have put together playoff teams the last four years, we’ve said more than once that a huge key is keeping productive players who know our system, and this is another big step in that plan.”
Maualuga has been productive to be sure over his six-year career, but the second-round pick out of USC in the 2009 NFL draft has struggled with injuries over the last two seasons. He missed four games with a hamstring issue in 2014, though he still amassed 35 solo tackles, an interception, and five passes defensed. A very smart player, Maualuga has been a team captain and on-field shot-caller for years, and it's also possible that the Bengals are loading up from an insurance perspective with linebacker Vontaze Burfict recovering from microfracture knee surgery.
Throughout his career, Maualuga has totaled 293 tackles, five interceptions and 17 passes defensed in 84 starts.
Depending on the terms of the deal, which probably won't break the bank, this is a good move for a defense in the second year of coordinator Paul Guenther's tenure. Maualuga is a heady player with enough left in the tank to make a difference, even if, at this point in his career, it's as a rotational player.