Former Cincinnati Bengals inside linebacker and current free agent Rey Maualuga is scheduled to visit the Kansas City Chiefs after being released by the Bengals on Sunday. The eight-year veteran recorded just 27 tackles last season compared to 75 in the 2015 campaign.
The Chiefs’ run defense needs improvement from 2016 when poor play atop key injuries contributed to the team’s sluggish playoff run. Strengthening the defense could very well be the Chiefs’ biggest focus in this off season, and they could benefit from loading both the inside and outside linebacker position. The departure of defensive lineman Dontari Poe surely will need to be addressed, as well as the health of both Derrick Johnson and Justin Houston. The signing of a player like Maualuga could be an upgrade, or at least some insurance for the linebacker corps. Granted, veteran Derrick Johnson should be back and healthy, but that won’t be enough. Should the Chiefs play teams like the Patriots in 2017, they will want more than anything to be fully equipped in the pass rush.
Drafted by Cincinnati in 2009, Maualuga has a total of 584 career tackles, four sacks and seven interceptions. His season ended after suffering a fibula injury against the Washington Redskins last October. It’s always an issue to bring in a previously injured player, but the Chiefs are in the due diligence mode right now as the draft approaches.
Speaking of which, the 2017 NFL Draft will be held on April 27th and the Chiefs have the 27th pick in the first round. Coach Andy Reid and the Chiefs front office will have their hands full with shoring up an underachieving club on both sides of the ball.