Christopher Hanewinckel, 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.