Jarret Johnson played a role for the team. They drafted Courtney Upshaw, because he fit the role that they envisioned for that position on the field.
Kruger just got wiped out in run defense, and sometimes by the TE alone.
JJ just got wiped out in passing situations, sometimes by a TE alone.
See what I did there?
Neither was a complete player yet Kruger gets crapped on repeatedly. And JJ is remembered as an amazing defender.
The thing with Kruger and Upshaw is they were the PERFECT compliment to one another.
However, you don't pay a compliment 9-10 mil/year. You find another defensive pass rusher. Can someone like Hamilton come in and do the same thing? Maybe not be as good, but he could compliment Upshaw quite well and fill the pass rusher role.
With a guy like Upshaw, we don't need to go get a complete OLB, we need a guy who can get the QB.
Therefore, don't pay Kruger
Johnson wasn't asked to cover in man. He was only asked to cover in zone and he covered his zone.
Don't worry though, you'll barely remember Kruger after the season Upshaw is about to have. 7-10 sacks, on top of being one of the league's best edge setters.
I'm not going to beat up Krueger, I think he'll sign for more money that we have. Trying to turn him into a DE didn't work but I understand in the sense that he wasn't getting on the field with Suggs and JJ locking up the OLB positions so they experimented with him. He was a starter at the beginning of the year and wasn't very impressive until Suggs came back. He does possess some nice pass rushing skills and we'll see if he improves or fizzles. I don't think we've scratched the surface of Upshaw's potential and he is the obvious future. Draft or pick up a cheap pass rusher in free agency but don't be surprised if Upshaw becomes more of a presence there.
BTW I do not think Kruger is a bad player even if I seem to. He's a good player and I would love to keep him if we could, but he seems to think he's a 15 sack guy and frankly, he's not. He seems to overvalue himself, and will likely be overvalued by other teams as well, much like several other former Ravens defenders.
Not Buffalo. They gave Swan Edwards a ton of money he didn't get elsewhere and Kruger will too and they are interested in him. There's a reason why the Buffalo's of the world remain at the bottom and the Ravens remain on top. Ravens sign the Flacco's and Rice's and let the JJ's and Kruger's walk.
"neither was a complete player" those are the key words. Guys like that are great to have around at your price to be used at your discretion. When the price goes to high let someone else pay it.