By Brady Henderson
Paul Kruger will be coming after 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick during Super Bowl XLVII Sunday, attempting to add to the 2.5 sacks he’s totaled during the postseason.
He’ll also be dropping into coverage, another tool that adds to Kruger’s versatility.
The Ravens use their fourth-year outside linebacker in multiple ways. That’s one reason why Albert Breer of the NFL Network thinks Kruger will appeal to Pete Carroll and the Seahawks when he becomes an unrestricted free agent in the offseason.
The Seahawks will be looking for pass-rush help. Breer singled out Kruger when asked about a group of pending free agents that also includes Lions defensive end Cliff Avril and Dolphins defensive tackle Randy Starks.
“Avril is more of kind of a standard defensive end; Kruger’s able to do a few more things because of the way the Baltimore Ravens employ their outside linebacker/defensive end players. So you’re going to be getting a more of a versatile type of player if you go and you bring in a Paul Kruger, a guy Pete Carroll could move around his defensive front and use as kind of a joker type of weapon,” Breer told “Brock and Salk” Friday.
“If you go back and you look at Pete Carroll’s history, he’s had players like that. When he was at USC I think they used Clay Matthews in a lot of different roles. Willie McGinest would be a good example of it when he was with the Patriots. So he’s had those types of players in the past.”
I wrote about Kruger as a potential target for the Seahawks last week, noting that there is no precedent suggesting the current regime is willing to give a lucrative long-term contract to a free-agent defensive player from another team.
Kruger’s youth (he’s 26) and the fact that he’s coming off a career year (nine regular-season sacks) puts him in position to command such a deal.
A tight salary-cap situation could make it hard for the Ravens to lock up Kruger. The franchise tag is usually an option in such situations, but Breer doesn’t envision that happening for two reasons: his position would carry an untenably high figure and the Ravens may have to reserve the franchise tag if they can’t reach a long-term deal with quarterback Joe Flacco, who’s a bigger priority.
The video below includes additional thoughts from Brock Huard and Mike Salk on Kruger and the Seahawks.
You can listen to Friday’s show here.