Just over a month after helping the Baltimore Ravens to a Super Bowl title, Paul Kruger will be joining one of their biggest rivals.
The Cleveland Browns lured the talented outside linebacker away from their fellow AFC North cohorts during Tuesday's first day of free agency, with Kruger agreeing to a five-year contract reportedly worth more than $40 million.
One of the top pass rushers available on this year's market, Kruger parlayed a breakthrough 2012 campaign in which the four-year pro accumulated a career- best nine sacks in the regular season and 4 1/2 more during Baltimore's playoff run into a big deal. The 26-year-old added 42 tackles, one interception and six passes defensed prior to the postseason.
Kruger will be ticketed for a starting role on a new-look Cleveland defense that is switching to a 3-4 alignment in 2013.
"We are very excited about the addition of Paul Kruger to our team," said Browns head coach Rob Chudzinski. "He is a talented linebacker who is going to make an immediate impact on our defense. When you put on the film you see physicality, explosive pass rush and a high motor. He has been very productive for the Ravens, and proved it at the highest level last season in the playoffs."
A second-round draft choice of the Ravens in 2009, Kruger played sparingly his first two seasons in Baltimore before breaking out with 5 1/2 sacks as a situational rusher in 2011.