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Rey Maualuga contract is really a one-year deal

Now that it's been broken down, it appears the Bengals did what the Bengals usually do with Rey Maualuga's three-year deal. They front-loaded the guaranteed money allowing them to cut ties without suffering any cap penalties later.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

When the Cincinnati Bengals signed Rey Maualuga to a three-year deal last week, fans began singing the chorus to their favorite rock ballad. Consider that the first thing Cincinnati did after promoting "change" in Mobile, Alabama, was re-sign one of their own, presenting the idea of the status quo with the team's roster building -- believing that it will lead to status quo in first-round exits in the playoffs. You keep doing the same things and signing the same people and expecting different results.

The deal is worth $15 million. WHAT?

It's not that bad though. Based on how Cincinnati structured his contract (like most of the team's second-tier players), the Bengals won't incur any financial penalty... if they release Maualuga during a five-day window that starts after the start of the 2016 league year.

Included in his contract is an initial roster bonus of $4.5 million, which translates into the entirety of his guaranteed money. There is no signing bonus and a non-guaranteed roster bonus of $1.15 million is slated for the fifth day into the 2016 league year -- if they release Maualuga five days after the start of the 2016 league year, they'll lose the $1.15 million roster bonus given to their veteran linebacker. Per Spotrac:

2015 $2,150,000 $4,687,500 $300,000 $7,137,500 $4,500,000
2016 $2,650,000 $1,150,000 $300,000 $4,100,000 --
2017 $3,150,000 $250,000 $300,000 $3,700,000 --

This is essentially a one-year deal.