The Cincinnati Bengals want Rey Maualuga back, despite all of the criticism against his play at inside linebacker over the last few years. Still, despite the desire to keep him on for a fifth (and more) season with the team, it seems his intention is to test the free agency market, with the Arizona Cardinals looking like the likeliest of destinations.

The Cardinals need someone at the position after letting go of Stewart Bradley, who signed with the Denver Broncos, and Paris Lenon, a free agent as well, isn’t coming back to Arizona next season. This means Vontaze Burfict probably shifts to the middle linebacker position, while Maualuga, or anyone else that arrives, will fill the strong side linebacker position.

With the Buffalo Bills locking up Manny Lawson after two years in Cincinnati, their need to re-sign Maualuga becomes greater, but there’s a good chance that after his visit to Arizona, there won’t be nothing much left to fight for, and they might have to turn elsewhere to find a new player to shore up the middle, something Maualuga did well, yet inconsistently, during his time with the Bengals.

Maualuga did depart Arizona without a deal signed, but that doesn’t mean he’s returning to Cincinnati, still looking for a team that might give him a better offer, not really thinking about being the home-discount kind of guy.