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Bengals re-sign LB Rey Maualuga, could move him outside

By Larry Hartstein | Senior Analyst

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Middle linebacker Rey Maualuga had a career-high 122 tackles last season. (USATSI)

The Bengals have re-signed linebacker Rey Maualuga and are "closing in" on retaining cornerback/punt returner Adam Jones, according to the team's official website.

Maualuga made 122 tackles last season at middle linebacker, but at one point seemed likely to leave Cincinnati. He got a two-year, $6.5 million contract, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.

Bengals.com reports Maualuga, 26, could move to the strong side, with leading tackler Vontaze Burfict taking over in the middle. Burfict, 22, excelled on the weak side last season.

"Rey is a big, physical guy who plays with a lot of passion and energy," linebackers coach Paul Guenther said. "He knows the defense and he can play a couple of different spots, and that's going to give us some flexibility as well as some experience in our room."

Jones was a key part of the Bengals' No. 9 pass defense and ranked seventh with an 11.6-yard average on punt returns. Jones played in every game and formed a strong cornerback trio with Leon Hall and Terence Newman. Cincy also is trying to re-sign Newman, who had 75 tackles, two interceptions and a forced fumble last season, according to Bengals.com.

A second-round pick out of USC in 2009, Maualuga has increased his production each season, going from 63 tackles to 75 to 88 to 122. He's missed only three games.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, subscribe to our RSS Feed, watch Pro Football 360 daily at 3 ET and NFL newsletter. You can also follow Larry Hartstein @LarryHartstein.

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