Paul Kruger rushed his way to a Super Bowl win, and on to a huge payday.
Baltimore’s sacks leader last season agreed to terms Tuesday on a five-year, $40 million contract with the Cleveland Browns, who with their first move in free agency added a proven pass rusher and weakened the defending NFL champions.
The 27-year-old linebacker and former Utah star will sign his deal on Wednesday before he’s introduced at the team’s training complex in suburban Berea. The Browns officially announced the agreement with Kruger on Tuesday night, a few hours after it was reported by The Associated Press and other media outlets. ESPN was the first to report Kruger was leaving the Ravens to join the Browns.
"We are very excited about the addition of Paul Kruger to our team," new Browns coach Rob Chudzinski said in a release. "He is a talented linebacker who is going to make an immediate impact on our defense. When you put on the film you see physicality, explosive pass rush and a high motor. He has been very productive for the Ravens, and proved it at the highest level last season in the playoffs."
He had 13½ sacks last season — 4½ in the playoffs — and will strengthen a young Cleveland defense transitioning from a 4-3 defensive scheme.
Around the league
Chiefs • Kansas City finally has its new quarterback, officially trading for Alex Smith on Tuesday, the first day of the new league year — and nearly two weeks after the San Francisco 49ers agreed to the deal. All that’s left is for the former Ute is to pass a physical and the paperwork to be filed with the league. The 49ers will receive the Chiefs’ second-round pick, 34th overall, in this year’s draft and a conditional pick in next year’s draft.
Dolphins • Receiver Mike Wallace was Miami’s No. 1 offseason target, and the Dolphins moved quickly to seal a deal. Wallace agreed to a multiyear contract on the first day of NFL free agency, a person with knowledge of the agreement said. Miami also reached a $35 million, five-year deal with inside linebacker Dannell Ellerbe, who helped Baltimore win the Super Bowl last season.
Eagles • Philadelphia released former All-Pro cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha after two disappointing seasons. Asomugha was due to make $15 million this season, including $4 million guaranteed.
Bills • Buffalo released quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick after two-plus inconsistent seasons as starter. The decision came after Fitzpatrick and the team were unable to reach an agreement to restructure the quarterback’s contract, and a day before the he was due a $3 million bonus. He went 20-33 as a starter over four seasons in Buffalo. And he was in the midst of a six-year, $59 million contract extension.
Falcons • Tony Gonzalez changed his mind and decided to return to Atlanta. The NFL’s career leader among tight ends with 1,242 receptions and 103 touchdowns said he was 95 percent certain he would retire after 2012, but the other 5 percent won out.
Jets • Nose tackle Sione Po’uha, New York’s third-round pick out of Utah in 2005, was released in a cost-cutting move, which saved the Jets about $3.8 million on the salary cap.
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