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Paul Kruger | Linebacker | #99

Team: Cleveland Browns
Age / DOB:  (30) / 2/15/1986
Ht / Wt:  6'4' / 270
College: Utah
Drafted: 2009 / Rd. 2 (57) / BAL
Contract: view contract details

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Recent News

The Browns want OLB Paul Kruger to rush the passer more this season.
Kruger was forced to play the strong side last year, leading to his lowest sack total (2.5) since 2010. With Mike Pettine gone, he’ll play less coverage. Kruger is a bounce-back candidate in DC Ray Horton’s blitz-heavy scheme. Apr 2 - 8:02 PM

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Browns OLB Paul Kruger said the defense needs to be more flexible next season.

"The biggest thing that we could do better is playing the style of defense that we need to for a particular team," Kruger said. "You can’t play the same play every game and expect to have the same result because offenses are different." This is a very thinly veiled shot at DC Jim O’Neil, who likely will be let go after the season even if Mike Pettine sticks around. Owed $6.5 million with a cap hit of $7.7 million next season, it is not a given Kruger will be back with the Browns, especially considering they tried to trade him at the deadline. Kruger will only be 30 next season, however, and he has a strong argument his down year had more to do with the coaching staff than his ability. He would find plenty of suitors if he hit the open market.
Jan 2 - 11:13 AM's Ian Rapoport reports the Browns are "motivated sellers," and would be willing to absorb some of OLB Paul Kruger's $7 million salary to facilitate a trade.

It's unclear how this would even be possible, as the NFL has rules against swallowing money to make trades happen (unlike baseball). We suppose recently-off-suspension GM Ray Farmer must know a way. It's clear Farmer wants to unload Kruger ahead of Tuesday's deadline.
Tue, Nov 3, 2015 01:46:00 PM

Browns OLB Paul Kruger said he was unsurprised to hear his name come up in trade rumors because of his recent lack of playing time.

"Your value can only be so high based on how much you're on the field," Kruger said. "I hope this is my home, and I don't know where those came from. But the only reason I haven't been surprised is because there's been a lot of talk about different things like this." Kruger played just 57 percent of the defensive snaps Sunday and has played less than 60 percent in three of the last four games. Kruger is one of many Browns rumored to be on the trade block.
Mon, Nov 2, 2015 10:07:00 AM

ESPN's Adam Schefter reported Sunday morning that Browns OLB Paul Kruger is on the trade block.

29-year-old Kruger has base salaries of $7 million this year and $6.5 million next season. He registered 11 sacks last year, but has dipped to 0.5 through seven games this season. Kruger still has value as a capable pass rusher who can set the edge in run defense, but his base salaries are cumbersome. The NFL trade deadline is coming next week. The Browns are also willing to deal LT Joe Thomas and C Alex Mack.
Sun, Nov 1, 2015 10:30:00 AM

Browns OLB Paul Kruger is playing on the strong side in base sets this season.

Kruger racked up 11 sacks as the rush linebacker last season, but he is being asked to drop into coverage more on the strong side. "We only really moved him in base defense," DC Jim O’Neil said. "Is it probably costing him five to 10 more opportunities to rush the passer? Yeah. But is it better for us defensively right now?" Kruger has managed just a half-sack through three games.
Sat, Oct 3, 2015 01:25:00 PM

Despite only recording 4.5 sacks, Browns OLB Paul Kruger racked up 51 total pressures in 2013.

Disruption is production. According to Pro Football Focus, Kruger had 39 QB hurries and eight QB hits on the season. We expect Kruger's sack total to increase under new head coach Mike Pettine. Last season, Pettine's Bills posted 57 sacks and had three players reach double-digits - Mario Williams (13), Kyle Williams (10.5) and Jerry Hughes (10.0).
Fri, Apr 11, 2014 10:39:00 AM

The Browns will use Paul Kruger primarily at left outside linebacker in new coordinator Ray Horton's 3-4.

Jabaal Sheard will play right outside 'backer, and first-round pick Barkevious Mingo will be the top pass-rushing reserve. NFL Films' Greg Cosell recently suggested Mingo could be employed like Horton did Daryl Washington on passing downs in Arizona, using linemen to occupy blocks and letting Mingo run free to the quarterback. All three rush 'backers will be candidates for 6-10 sacks.
Mon, Jul 15, 2013 02:26:00 PM

Browns OLBs Paul Kruger and Jabaal Sheard are alternating sides in OTAs.

It's a minor detail. "It gives us a chance to work them there in case you need to down the road and just see guys from different sides," coach Rob Chudzinski said. Whatever side he's rushing from, Kruger will be an every-down player as the strong-side linebacker. Sheard will have to fight for snaps with first-round pick Barkevious Mingo, and could be limited to sub-packages.
Fri, May 24, 2013 09:46:00 AM

Browns agreed to terms with OLB Paul Kruger on a five-year, $41 million contract.

It reportedly includes $20 million guaranteed. It's a generous haul for a four-year veteran with just 15.5 career sacks, but probably not what Kruger had in mind before the start of free agency. Kruger will line up opposite OLB Jabaal Sheard in new DC Ray Horton's attacking 3-4 defense. Kruger's signing leaves Cliff Avril as the lone remaining pass-rushing jewel on the open market.
Tue, Mar 12, 2013 04:40:00 PM

CBS Sports' Jason La Canfora considers the Browns "almost certain" to land free agent Paul Kruger.

La Canfora is calling the union a near certainty after the Baltimore Sun reported the Browns were "closing in" on the pass rusher Tuesday morning. We anticipate Kruger approaching $10 million in annual value on his Browns deal.
Tue, Mar 12, 2013 03:24:00 PM

Sources tell the Baltimore Sun that the Browns are "closing in" on free agent OLB Paul Kruger.

The Browns have made no secret of their desire to make a big splash early in free agency, and Kruger has long been their prime target. With Cliff Avril getting linked to the Bucs and Colts, Cleveland's pursuit of Kruger has apparently intensified. We could see a deal done as soon as Tuesday evening.
Tue, Mar 12, 2013 10:13:00 AM

NFL Network's Daniel Jeremiah passes along a "a lot of buzz out there" about the Browns being "VERY" aggressive in free agency.

The Browns are among the league leaders in salary cap space and have been connected to a large chunk of free agents via the media. Paul Kruger is believed to be their top target. They may also buy one of the most expensive cornerbacks.
Mon, Mar 11, 2013 12:27:00 PM

The Baltimore Sun reports the Colts and Browns will soon engage in a "bidding war" for free agent OLB Paul Kruger.

The Browns have been "particularly aggressive" on both Kruger and Cliff Avril since Saturday morning's negotiating window opened. One source predicted Kruger will command $10 million to $12 million per year. Both Cleveland and Indianapolis are flush with cap space and need pass-rush help. It's conceivable that the Kruger will go to the Colts and Avril to the Browns, or vice versa.
Sun, Mar 10, 2013 05:06:00 PM

ESPN's Ed Werder reported on SportsCenter that the Browns and Colts will aggressively pursue OLB Paul Kruger in free agency.

Per Werder, Cleveland is "definitely gonna go after" Kruger and will face "intense competition" from Indianapolis, which reportedly envisions Kruger as Dwight Freeney's replacement opposite Robert Mathis. Werder expects Kruger to be signed quickly after Tuesday's free-agent signing period opens. Kruger, 27, led the Super Bowl Ravens in 2012 sacks. We anticipate he'll command a contract worth in the $12 million range annually; perhaps $60 million over five years.
Fri, Mar 8, 2013 11:29:00 AM