The Cleveland Browns unceremoniously released veteran defensive end Paul Kruger on Monday. According to ESPN's Mike Triplett, a source says that Sean Payton et al got Kruger's people on the phone and set-up a meeting for Tuesday.
Kruger, 30, was drafted in the 2nd round of the 2009 NFL draft by the Baltimore Ravens. Through 4 seasons in Baltimore, Kruger tallied 15.5 sacks before heading to Cleveland in free agency in 2013. You may recall that Payton had a keen eye on Kruger at this time, narrowly being edged out by the Browns who offered him $40.5 million over 5 years.
Over 3 years in Cleveland, Kruger sandwiched an 11 sack 2014 campaign with 4.5 in 2013 and just 2.5 last season. Mike Triplett credits Kruger's parabolic sack figures to his misappropriation on the Browns d-line, namely being shifted from the strong to the weak side. Kruger implied as much in his farewell message to fans on Monday.
Triplett also touches on the fact that Payton has overtly expressed a need to explore options for other players that may become available this time of the year, and I concur. Currently per the Saints unofficial team depth chart, RDE opposite Cam Jordan is a carousel of unproven youngsters including Kasim Edebali, Obum Gwacham, and Davis Tull.
The whole strong-side weak-side thing would likely have to be reconciled to assess fit, but I personally would be very excited to get a seasoned veteran pass rusher opposite #94. He'd probably have to take a number other than #99 though else ask the rook Sheldon Rankins to sell/donate it to him.
Also, we can call him Paul "Nightmare on Canal Street" Kruger. It's all perfect.