Maualuga played the first eight seasons of his career with the Cincinnati Bengals after the franchise selected him in the second round of the 2009 draft. The team released him in March after signing linebacker Kevin Minter in free agency.
The 30-year-old USC product registered 584 combined tackles, 21 passes defended, seven interceptions, six forced fumbles and four sacks across 114 games as a member of the Bengals. He added 40 tackles in five playoff contests with Cincinnati.
His impact dropped during the 2016 campaign, however, which led to the longtime defensive stalwart earning a career-low six starts.
Joe Goodberry of Cincy Jungle showcased the defender's lack of snaps and versatility:
Bengals LB 2016 Def Snap totals: Dansby (SLB/NLB) 781 Burfict (WLB/ILB/NLB) 674 V.Rey (OLB/ILB/NLB) 591 Maualuga (ILB) 326 Vigil (NLB) 1102017-2-8 19:35:31
Paul Dehner Jr. of the Cincinnati Enquirer passed along comments from Bengals defensive coordinator Paul Guenther, who questioned the future of one-dimensional, run-stuffing linebackers.
"He realizes the way the league is now," Guenther said. "I tell Rey a lot he's synonymous with the fullback. The run-stopping linebacker is the fullback, as soon as you see the fullback run on the field he can run on, too. But that doesn't happen very often."
Ultimately, what you see with Maualuga is what you get. He's capable of providing limited value as a linebacker who plays on the early downs and in short-yardage situations. Anything else and he becomes a liability to the defense.
He'll slot in as a part-time contributor at middle linebacker for the Dolphins.