The Indianapolis Colts need an outside linebacker after letting Dwight Freeney walk, but how desperate are they to add one of free agency’s “premier” edge rushers? Extremely desperate, according to reports.
ESPN’s Ed Werder reported this morning on Sports Center that the Colts are caught in a bidding war with the Cleveland Browns for the services of outside linebacker Paul Kruger. And the contract that Kruger is expected to land will be somewhere in the range of five years and $60 million, or $12 million per year.
Now I don’t know about you, but that seems like a lot for a player who has a rather small sample size of production to entice teams with.
If it wasn’t for the return of Terrell Suggs midway through the 2012 campaign, Kruger might have never had his breakout season. Prior to Suggs’ return, Kruger managed only 1.5 sacks in seven games. After opponents began honing in on the 2011 Defensive Player of the Year, Kruger exploded with 7.5 sacks in nine games. His performances during the Baltimore Ravens’ Super Bowl run were what put Kruger on the NFL’s radar, but his regular season showing wasn’t nearly worth $12 million annually.
Regardless of who wins the bidding war, they’ll be overpaying for Kruger. While the Colts have about $40 million in cap space, there are better options to spend somewhere in the range of $12 million on. Someone like Connor Barwin comes to mind.
While their interest might be overblown, the Colts need to be smart before making any moves in the Kruger sweepstakes. Kruger will go wherever the money is, and Indianapolis better be hoping that the Browns are willing to throw more dollar signs his way.
The Colts franchise is headed in the right direction following the 2012 season. Spending $60 million on Kruger, though, would be step backwards.
Then again, maybe they’re just hoping to run up the Browns’ bill on Kruger and weaken their market power.