Carroll County Times

Ravens Notebook: Kruger signs with Cleveland

As expected, the Baltimore Ravens will be moving forward without their top pass rusher from last season.

Outside linebacker Paul Kruger agreed to terms with the Cleveland Browns Tuesday, reportedly on a five-year deal worth $40 million that includes $20 million in guaranteed money.

Kruger led the Ravens with nine sacks last season and added a team-high 4½ sacks in the playoffs, two of which came in Baltimore's Super Bowl victory over the San Francisco 49ers.

Kruger had 12 sacks during the final 12 games of the season after he was limited, partly because of a back injury, to just 1½ sacks through the first eight games of the year.

Kruger was considered by many to be the top pass rusher available in this year's free agent class.

Kruger recorded just one sack during his first two NFL seasons after Baltimore selected him in the second round of the 2009 NFL draft, but he had 5½ sacks in 2011 and 13½ (including the playoffs) last season.

The addition of Kruger is expected to upgrade a Browns pass rush that already featured one of the AFC's top young pass rushers in Jabaal Sheard, who's accumulated 15½ sacks in his first two NFL seasons.

The Ravens, meanwhile, will depend on the combination of Courtney Upshaw and Albert McClellan to help offset the loss of Kruger, although both, while stout against the run, are considered limited in terms of what they offer as pass rushers at this point.

Upshaw and McClellan combined for just 2½ sacks last season.

But it's also likely Baltimore will look to add a pass rusher through the draft.

The team had formal meetings with Florida State pass rushers Brandon Jenkins and Tank Carradine at the NFL Scouting Combine in February. Jenkins and Carradine are both projected as likely second-round picks.

Ohio State pass rusher John Simon is another player that may be of interest. The Ravens had informal meetings with Simon at the Senior Bowl in January. Simon is expected to be selected at some point during either the second or third round of the draft.

Baltimore may even consider taking a pass rusher as early as round one if Damontre Moore (Texas A&M) and/or Alex Okafor (Texas) are still available when it's on the clock with the 32nd pick.

RAVENS RE-SIGN VETERAN SAFETY: The Ravens retained safety James Ihedigbo Tuesday, agreeing to terms with the veteran on a one-year deal.

Ihedigbo confirmed the move on Twitter.

Ihedigbo played in all 20 games for Baltimore last season (including the playoffs) and started three when fellow safety Bernard Pollard was sidelined for the final three games of the regular season.

The re-signing of Ihedigbo, a physical, aggressive player nicknamed "The Gravedigger," provides the Ravens with depth at safety and also means the team will have back a valued member of its special teams.

Ihedigbo, 29, signed with Baltimore prior to the start of last season after spending the first three years of his career with the New York Jets and 2011 with the New England Patriots.

He had 25 tackles and a sack for the Ravens last season.

RAVENS SIGN REMAINING RFAs: Baltimore also agreed to terms Tuesday on two-year contracts with wide receiver David Reed and long snapper Morgan Cox as well as a one-year deal with offensive lineman Ramon Harewood.

All three players were restricted free agents.

Reed was a fifth-round pick of the Ravens in 2010. He's seen only limited playing time at wide receiver, but he's proven valuable as a member of Baltimore's kick and punt coverage teams and has experience returning kickoffs.

Cox has been Baltimore's long snapper the last three years after signing with the team as an undrafted free agent in 2010.

Harewood was a sixth-round pick of the Ravens in 2010. He started the first five games of last season at left guard before losing his starting job and being inactive for 14 of the final 15 games of the season (including the playoffs).