A veteran pass-rusher has hit the open market today after his team decided to go in a separate direction.
The Cleveland Browns announced Monday that they have released veteran linebacker Paul Kruger after a disappointing season. Kruger signed a five-year, $40.5-million contract in 2013 and has since been a staple of the Browns' defense. Mary Cay Cabot of Cleveland.com reports his release is for performance reasons, and not indicative of a youth movement for the team.
His pass-rush productivity was up-and-down starting from 4.5 sacks in 2013 to a career-high 11 in 2014, back down to 2.5 last season. Kruger quickly called out the team, stating that they did not utilize him properly and that cutting him was a mistake.
His high salary was likely the biggest reason, as he was under contract through next season at $6.5 million this year and $7 million next year.
The Browns are in rebuild mode and the writing may have been on the wall for Kruger after the team drafted pass rushers Emmanuel Ogbah, Carl Nassib and Joe Schubert this year, along with Nate Orchard in 2015.
Kruger is likely to catch on with another team this season, as there is a high demand for pass-rushers this year.
Images Courtesy of Keystone Press