Thanks to a strong 2012 regular season and impressive playoff run, Paul Kruger set himself up to cash in once free agency started. And cash in he did, agreeing to a reported five-year, $41 million contract with the Cleveland Browns that includes $20 million in guarantees.
Those numbers are actually lower than what it sounded like Kruger might nab initially -- somewhere in the vicinity of $10 million per season. That said, it's still a nice contract for a player who did not really crack the Baltimore starting lineup until 2012, has 15.5 career sacks and was subbed out during some key moments in the Ravens' postseason games.
Adding an outside pass-rusher was essential for the Browns this offseason, as they move to a 3-4 defense. Jabaal Sheard, coming off a 7.0-sack season will line up on one side, with Kruger now manning the other.
That could be a formidable duo for offensive lines to handle, especially in the AFC North where all three of the Browns' division rivals finished in the bottom half of the league in sacks allowed last season. Even better, the Browns weakened one of those teams -- the Ravens -- in the process of this pick-up.
Kruger will have to prove he's more than just a flash in the pan or a situational player. If he does, we might look back on this as a huge steal.Grade: A-minus. Cliff Avril