The Chiefs’ ongoing search for reinforcements at inside linebacker continues as the club has scheduled a Thursday visit with veteran free agent Rey Maualuga, a person with knowledge of the meeting told The Star.
Maualuga, 30, was released by the Cincinnati Bengals on Saturday after eight seasons with the team. A second-round pick in 2009, the 6-foot-2, 258-pound Maualuga finished last season with only 27 tackles and an interception while playing only 30 percent of the defensive snaps. The year before, he recorded 75 tackles in 15 games.
The Bengals’ release of Maualuga cleared $3.7 million off their salary cap, some of which they used to sign 26-year-old Kevin Minter to a one-year contract that could be worth up to $4.5 million.
Minter is considered a better coverage player than Maualuga, who started 104 games in eight seasons and earned a reputation as a reliable run stopper for six playoff teams.
“Rey has been a tough and productive player for us, and a fine teammate, and this is a difficult decision,” Bengals coach Marvin Lewis said. “It’s one of several we have made to transition to a younger group at linebacker.”
The Chiefs finished 26th against the run last season, and their top inside linebacker, veteran Derrick Johnson, is coming off his second Achilles rehab in three seasons, though he is optimistic he’ll be ready by training camp.
The Chiefs also brought in another veteran free agent, Gerald Hodges, for a visit two weeks ago, but he left Kansas City without a contract.