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Cleveland Browns sign former Baltimore Ravens pass rusher Paul Kruger to five-year deal

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Paul Kruger goes airborne to grab Robert Griffin III. (Getty Images)

With wads of spending cash in the salary cap and a slew of team needs, the new-look Cleveland Browns started off their free agency period by taking a key defender away from their division rivals, and adding to a pass rush in need of help. According to Albert Breer of the NFL Network, the Browns have signed linebacker Paul Kruger to a five-year contract worth $40 million on its face, though total terms and guaranteed money are not known at this time.

Kruger broke out in the 2012 season, when he became a key part of the defense that helped the Ravens win the franchise's second Super Bowl. He put up nine sacks and 55 total pressures in the regular season, both career highs. Then, he added 4.5 sacks in the postseason, including two in the Ravens' Super Bowl XLVII win over the San Francisco 49ers.

There may be a bit of buyer beware with a player like Kruger who's had just the one big career year (he had 6.5 sacks total in his first three seasons), but he's in a good position to succeed.

New Browns defensive coordinator Ray Horton had a hyperactive pass rush in Arizona, and Kruger will be a big part of a defense that could be even more multiple than the one he leaves in Baltimore.

Kruger was selected in the second round of the 2009 draft out of Utah.

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