Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Paul Kruger became the latest Baltimore Ravens player to leave the world champions' roster: On Tuesday, the fourth-year, pass-rushing outside linebacker became the cornerstone of the Cleveland Browns' defense.
Coming off a career-best season -- with nine sacks in the regular season and 4.5 sacks in the postseason -- Kruger agreed to a five-year, $40.5 million deal with the Browns, a person familiar with the deal told USA TODAY Sports. That person, who requested anonymity because the signing had not yet been announced by the club, said the deal included $20 million in guaranteed money.
Kruger, 27, was a second-round pick in 2009 out of Utah, and he led the Ravens with 55 quarterback pressures in 2012. One of the top pass-rushers in the free-agent market, Kruger follows former wide receiver Anquan Boldin, traded Monday to San Francisco for a sixth-round pick, as the latest former reigning Super Bowl champion to move on.
Safety Ed Reed also is expected to find a job elsewhere, and linebacker Ray Lewis has retired.
The team could afford to let Kruger leave, given that last year's second-round pick, linebacker Courtney Upshaw, is expected to take over Kruger's role.
The Browns have agreed to terms on a five-year, $34 million contract with former Oakland Raiders defensive tackle Desmond Bryant, according to a person informed of the progress of talks between the sides. The person, who spoke to USA TODAY Sports on condition of anonymity because the deal is not yet signed, said Bryant will get $15 million guaranteed.
That's not a bad haul for the former undrafted free agent who wasn't even a starter until his third year.
But Bryant turned up the production over the past two seasons by accumulating a total of nine sacks in that time span. The production and the 6-6, 311-pound Bryant's athleticism clearly outweighed any potential negatives of his recent arrest for misdemeanor criminal mischief.
Jim Corbett, USA TDOAY Sports
USA TODAY Sports' Mike Garafolo contributed to this report.