|Paul Kruger had 13.5 sacks this year. But will the Ravens re-sign him? (US Presswire)|
Pees tailored his scheme to Kruger's strengths, using the fourth-year linebacker in a pure pass-rushing capacity. Kruger flourished, getting two sacks in a 55-20 win over the Raiders en route to finishing the year with 13.5, which included 4.5 in the playoffs.
After playing a pivotal role in the Ravens' Super Bowl XLVII win over the 49ers with two sacks and three tackles, Kruger has emerged as one of the top outside linebackers in this year's free-agent class.
"I'd love to stay in Baltimore," Kruger said in an interview with ESPN's NFL Live. "It's a great place to play in every aspect. The organization, the facilities, the teammates. It would be hard to leave, for sure."
The Ravens are in salary-cap purgatory over the next several weeks with 10 players accounting for more than $69 million in 2013 cap space, according to NFL.com.
"We get a deal done with Joe, we will not franchise another player," Newsome said.
Kruger, a second-round pick out of Utah in 2009, had a base salary of $615,000 in 2012. The 10 highest-paid linebackers in the NFL in 2012 all made in excess of $8 million for the season.
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