One of the top contributors on the Super Bowl XLVII champion Baltimore Ravens roster is now headed to Baltimore’s AFC North rivals, the Cleveland Browns.
Defensive end Paul Kruger signed a five-year deal worth $41 million with the Browns on Tuesday, according to a USA Today report. The move marks another departure from John Harbaugh’s championship defensive unit. Speculated throughout the week, ESPN’s Adam Schefter was the first to report the details.
Kruger, 27 will likely play the outside linebacker position in recently hired defensive coordinator Ray Horton’s 3-4 scheme. The former second-round draft pick out of Utah stepped up in 2012, recording a career-high nine sacks. He had 4.5 sacks in the Ravens’ four-game postseason run, including two of 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick in Super Bowl XLVII.
The Browns are headed in a new direction and were well-suited for this year’s NFL free agency sweepstakes, leading the league in cap space heading into March.
In addition to a new owner in Jimmy Haslam, the Browns have a new GM in Mike Lombardi, a new coach in Rod Chudzinski and new coordinators in Norv Turner (offense) and Ray Horton (defense).
Kruger’s signing comes one day after Ravens wide receiver Anquan Boldin was traded to the San Francisco 49ers in exchange for a sixth-round pick.
Ravens veterans Bryant McKinnie, Dannell Ellerbe, Cary Williams and Ed Reed are all unrestricted free agents, as well. Ray Lewis will not be returning to Baltimore in 2013 either.
The Browns roster overhaul isn’t done yet. They still have plenty of cap space and own the No. 6 pick in April’s NFL Draft.