Paul Kruger rumors: Colts, Browns expected to bid high on linebacker

Ronald Martinez

The Indianapolis Colts and Cleveland Browns are expected to enter a bidding war for free agent Paul Kruger.

As one of premiere pass rushers available this offseason, Paul Kruger is expected to command a fairly rich contract -- rich enough that he's not expected back with the Baltimore Ravens in 2013. Instead, it looks like Kruger will be the center of a bidding war between the Cleveland Browns and Indianapolis Colts, according to the Baltimore Sun.

Cleveland's interest is unsurprising, as the Browns have nearly $50 million of cap space for 2013 -- and need to improve their entire roster. Signing Kruger would give the Browns a dynamic pass rusher, all the while taking him away from a divisional rival -- the same rival that stole the original Browns franchise.

Indianapolis' interest also makes sense, given the Colts recently decided to move on from long-time pass rusher, Dwight Freeney. Chuck Pagano, Indianapolis' head coach, served as Kruger's defensive coordinator in Baltimore, so the two have familiarity with each other which could give the Colts a leg up in the rumored bidding war. Like the Browns, the Colts have plenty of money to spend in free agency, with nearly $43 million to spend this offseason.

Both the Browns and the Colts have a need for Kruger. Neither team did well in pass defense last year, as the Browns ranked 25th in the NFL, while the Colts, despite a playoff team, ranked 21st.

Dawgs By Nature: Kruger would be pricey

According to Aaron Wilson, an NFL source believes that Kruger will command a contract worth $10 million to $12 million annually. It's likely that Kruger, as one of the best-available players this offseason, will command a five-year deal, and could very well end up with a contract worth $60 million especially if the Colts and Browns are involved in a bidding war.

With almost as much money to spend, a familiar head coach and a playoff team in place, it appears that the Colts would likely win a bidding war assuming that the offers are similar in money. Indianapolis will likely offer top dollar, as Indianapolis needs to fill the void left by Freeney.

Still, the Browns figure to be prominently in the mix, and can't be ruled out until Kruger signs elsewhere.

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