The Miami Dolphins are signing veteran Rey Maualuga to a one-year contract, a move meant to reinforce a linebacker corps following the loss of rookie Raekwon McMillan to a season-ending knee injury.
Maualuga is expected to be the team’s middle linebacker, playing primarily on run downs.
Maualuga, 30, agreed to a deal that will pay him $900,000 in base salary (the minimum for a ninth-year veteran). The Dolphins will invoke the minimum salary benefit, which essentially means the nine-year veteran will count $615,000 against the team’s salary cap.
The Dolphins previously used the MSB on cornerback Alterruan Verner in order to diminish the salary cap hit although not the actual salary for the eighth-year veteran.
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In Maualuga the Dolphins add a run-stuff specialist, which is exactly what the team needs now for work on early downs. If things go according to the team’s plan, Maualuga will play approximately 25-30 plays per game in the middle of the defense but come off the field in nickel (passing substitutions) situations.
Maualuga was one of several veterans the team considered last week following McMillan’s injury. Ultimately, his experience under defensive coordinator Matt Burke, who was his position coach in Cincinnati, might have tipped the scales toward him as the Dolphins were deciding on which player to sign.
Follow Armando Salguero on Twitter: @ArmandoSalguero