The Miami Dolphins signed free agent linebacker Rey Maualuga today, adding him to the roster as the likely replacement for injured rookie Raekwon McMillan. The Dolphins appear to be planning to make Maualuga the new starting linebacker, pushing Mike Hull back to the second team and giving the Dolphins a veteran presence in the middle of the field.
Dolphins defensive coordinator Matt Burke coached Maualuga when Burke served as the Bengals linebackers coach in 2014 and 2015, so the team likely knows what they are getting Maualuga. Dolphins fans, meanwhile, have likely only seen highlights of Maualuga, other than when Miami faces Cincinnati. So, what exactly will the Dolphins be getting in their new linebacker, and why was he available? I asked Rebecca Toback from Cincy Jungle for her thoughts on Maualuga. She replied:
Maualuga is probably still serviceable in a minimal and rotational role, but the Bengals let him go because he was nowhere near the starter they needed and they found a replacement (Kevin Minter) for much cheaper who they also expect to be better and faster.
He's a decent run stopper but I wouldn't expect much more from him.
His role greatly decreased last year with a rookie taking over the bulk of his snaps. And that says a lot since the Bengals rarely let rookies play on defense. Honestly the Bengals letting him go at all was surprising because of how much they value and are loyal to their veterans. So it does say alot regarding what they thought he'd bring to the team this year... Not much.
I wouldn't expect much and then be happy with whatever he provides, if anything.
The reunion with Matt Burke makes sense, so it seems they're giving him a chance and seeing if he can prove he still has something left in the tank.
What do you think of Maualuga? Will he be what the Dolphins need? Toback describing him as a run stopper is probably a perfect fit for Miami, but we will have to see once the linebacker gets up to speed on the defense.
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