The Miami Dolphins have been dealing with injuries all training camp, from quarterback Ryan Tannehill to cornerback Tony Lippett and guard Ted Larsen. Included in that group is also starting middle linebacker Raekwon McMillan, the team’s second-round pick this year and a rookie expected to have a big impact on the team’s defense. However, a torn ACL ended his season after one play in the preseason and the Dolphins have had to come up with a new plan for the center of their defense.
The team is expected to start Mike Hull at middle linebacker on Thursday during the team’s preseason contest against the Baltimore Ravens. That may not be the permanent answer, however.
According to the Palm Beach Post’s Joe Schad, the Dolphins are working out free agent linebacker Rey Maualuga.
Maualuga was the second-round pick of the Cincinnati Bengals in 2009, playing eight years with the team. He has 599 career tackles with seven interceptions, 23 passes defensed, six forced fumbles, three fumbles recovered, and four sacks. He primarily played middle linebacker for the Bengals, which could make him a plug-and-play option for the Dolphins in 2017.
Dolphins defensive coordinator Matt Burke served as the Bengals linebacker coach in 2014 and 2015, providing familiarity with Maualuga.
Maualuga has primarily been on the field for run support the past couple of years, which could fit perfectly with what the Dolphins need. Miami will likely look to keep Kiko Alonso and Lawrence Timmons on the field in nickel situations, pulling the middle linebacker off the field for the extra cornerback. That was the plan with McMillan and Maualuga would seem to fit that same type of rotational use.