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Bengals Re-Sign Linebacker Rey Maualuga

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The Cincinnati Bengals and Maualuga were moving well in contract talks during the weekend, leading to his return on Monday.

USA TODAY Sports

Groans echo throughout downtown Cincinnati after hearing this.

The Cincinnati Bengals have announced Monday morning that they've re-signed linebacker Rey Maualuga.

"Rey has been a fine young player for us, and he continues to grow on and off the field,” said head coach Marvin Lewis. “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."

According to Adam Schefter, the deal is two years worth $6.5 million.

As we've pointed out throughout the offseason (especially since the NFL Combine), Maualuga figures as an early favorite at SAM linebacker, replacing the departed Manny Lawson. Considering that Cincinnati's former starting middle linebacker couldn't find a market, with one visit in Arizona and rumored interest from the Giants, it makes sense for Maualuga to return.

And yes. It makes sense for the Bengals to look into adding talent at SAM, which figured to be a competition between Brandon Joiner, Aaron Maybin and Dontay Moch. Maualuga's return and conjectured move to SAM, it clears up uncertainty at the position.

"He's one of the guys you got to get back in the fold. -Marvin Lewis on Rey Maualuga

After two solid years as the team's strong-side linebacker, the transition inside left 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).

Unless the team decides to keep him in the middle. But I cringe at the thought.

Maualuga (6-2, 250; Southern California) is a fifth-year NFL player in 2013. He was a Bengals second-round draft choice in 2009 and has played in 62 games with 61 starts (including postseason) over the last four seasons. He was second on the team in tackles (152) last season and led the front seven in passes defensed (five).

Maualuga has 428 tackles in the last four regular seasons, most on the Bengals in that span. He led the team with 15 tackles in last season’s Wild Card playoff game at Houston.