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Linebacker Rey Maualuga Departs Arizona Without A Deal

Free agent linebacker Rey Maualuga departed Arizona without a deal, leaving open the door for his eventual return as the SAM linebacker.


On Tuesday unrestricted free agent linebacker Rey Maualuga tweeted that he was visiting with the Arizona Cardinals, trying to find a home in the NFL after a disappointing two-year stretch at middle linebacker.

Mike Garafolo of the USA Today tweets that Maualuga departed Arizona without a deal.

There's a belief (with decent support behind it) that the Bengals could re-sign Maualuga to play SAM, where he spent his opening two years in the NFL. We wrote last month:

After two solid years as the team's strong-side linebacker, the transition inside resulted in a failed experiment, attacking incorrect lanes, over-pursuing, terrible coverage, missed tackles but more importantly, carrying the failures along in his mind when he should forget about them and move on. But let's compare his time at SAM and MIKE.

SAM ('09-'10) MIKE ('11-'12)
Games Played 31 29
Total Snaps 1,100 1,856
Tackles 138 210
Missed Tackles 10 30
PFF Overall 10.9 -42.5
PFF Against Run 14.1 -10.1
PFF Coverage -1.9 -26.0

Grade-wise Maualuga was superior at SAM. Production-wise, he appeared more effective at middle linebacker, however his missed tackles exponentially increased and his snaps per tackle was actually better (7.97) from '09-10 than at middle linebacker (8.84).