Update: Kruger will sign with the New Orleans Saints.
It’s not going to be very long before Paul Kruger is back on an NFL roster, as the 30-year old outside linebacker is visiting with the New Orleans Saints and Kansas City Chiefs, hoping to get an offer before the end of the preseason.
Kruger, who signed a five-year, $40.5 million contract with the Cleveland Browns in 2013, was released by the team this week after three seasons in Ohio. The Saints, who have been consistently one of the worst defensive teams in the league for the last few years, were interested in Kruger, then coming off a Super Bowl winning season with the Baltimore Ravens, but failed to sign him. The Saints have two injuries in their defensive line to Hau’oli Kikaha (out for the season) and rookie Sheldon Rankins, and obviously need some help.
The Chiefs don’t have the same kind of pass rushing problems the Saints do, but they’re injuries during this preseason are also something that can’t go unaddressed, and so Kruger is going to be an interesting option for them.
While Kruger had a bad season in 2015 (only 2.5 sacks), he did have 11 sacks in 2014 for the Browns, overall finishing with 18 sacks and 127 tackles during his three years in Cleveland, not missing a single game. He can still be productive, just not for the price the Browns had to pay for him ($8.2 million cap hit in each of the remaining seasons). Kruger probably isn’t going to be a minimum contract kind of player as he does have some demand now or later in the season, but his next deal will be a look a lot more affordable to the team that signs him, even if he doesn’t put up numbers that are too impressive.