When Paul Kruger signed a 5-year, $40.5 million free agent contract in 2013 he was expected to be a cornerstone of the Browns’ defense and pass rush.
Like many things with the Browns over the years, it did not go according to plan.
Except for the 2014 season, Kruger wasn’t very effective either due to coaching, scheme, positioning or performance. With a likely reduced role in the offing, Kruger was among the first cuts made by the Browns on Monday giving him an opportunity to find work elsewhere.
In 2014 Kruger, who played in and started a total of 46 games for the Browns, totaled 11 sacks, broke up 4 passes and forced 4 fumbles in 15 games. He saw his tackle total decrease each season between 2013-15 and had just 27 tackles and 2.5 sacks last season in 15 games.
Kruger thanked owners Jimmy and Dee Haslam as well as the fans and city of Cleveland in a statement posted on his verified social media accounts Monday morning shortly after his release was announced.
“My experience has been amazing and I will miss wearing a Browns #99,” Kruger wrote. “Although completely miss handled, unfortunate and absolutely the wrong decision to release me I do wish the Browns, and especially my teammate brothers great success.”
Kruger had 2 years and $13 million remaining on his contract. His release will cost the Browns $2.5 million in cap space – the prorated portion of his signing bonus that was remaining.
Quarterback Austin Davis and defensive lineman Nick Hayden also had their contracts terminated by the club. Defensive back Sean Baker, tight end E.J. Bibbs, receivers Josh Boyce and Ed Eagan, kicker Travis Coons, fullback Robert Hughes, tight end David Reeves and offensive lineman Corey Tucker were waived.
Defensive lineman Nile Lawrence-Stample (shoulder) and running back Glenn Winston (shoulder) were placed on injured reserve.
Teams have until 4 p.m. eastern Tuesday to trim their rosters to 75. The Browns’ roster currently is at 76.