Following rookie Raekwon McMillan‘s season-ending knee injury, the Dolphins have added a veteran replacement. According to Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald, the team has signed linebacker Rey Maualuga. According to the writer, Maualuga will earn the ninth-year veteran’s minimum base salary of $900K, and he’ll earn another $80,000 via a guaranteed bonus. Salguero notes that the linebacker will ultimately count $695K against the team’s cap.
The 30-year-old worked out for the Dolphins earlier this week, as he competed with several free agents for the opportunity to fill the team’s hole at linebacker. As Salguero writes, the team’s decision to sign Maualuga could be attributed to his experience with defensive coordinator Matt Burke, who previously served as the player’s linebackers coach in Cincinnati. The linebacker had received interest from the Chiefs earlier this offseason, but he ultimately left his audition without a contract.
The 2009 second-round pick had spent his entire eight-year career with the Bengals before he was released by the organization in March. Last season, Maualuga appeared in 14 games, setting career-lows in starts (six) and tackles (27). Pro Football Focus wasn’t fond of his performance, as he ranked as the third-worst linebacker in the league. Of course, he’s only two years removed from a productive 75-tackle campaign. Plus, as Salguero explains, the Dolphins will only be counting on the veteran to play 25-30 snaps per game, serving primarily in “run-stuff situations.”
With second-rounder McMillan out for the season and veteran Koa Misi failing to recover from his spinal fusion surgery, the Dolphins were struggling for linebacker depth. Behind starters Lawrence Timmons, Mike Hull, and Kiko Alonso, the team is only rostering four reserves in Neville Hewitt, Trevor Reilly, Brandon Watts, and Deon Lacey.
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