Paul Kruger wants to stay in Baltimore, but that doesn’t mean he will

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Ravens outside linebacker Paul Kruger had an outstanding postseason, potentially earning himself a lot of money in free agency. Kruger is hoping that money comes from the Ravens, but he realizes that might not be realistic.

In an interview with Trey Wingo on NFL Live, Kruger said that in a perfect world, he’d sign a long-term contract with the Ravens, rather than leaving as an unrestricted free agent.

“I’d love to stay in Baltimore. It’s a great place to play in every aspect. The organization, the facilities, the teammates,” Kruger said. “It would be hard to leave, for sure.”

Realistically, however, it seems like it would be a stretch for the Ravens to afford to pay Kruger the kind of money he can probably expect to be offered elsewhere after having 9.0 sacks in the regular season and 4.5 sacks in the postseason. The Ravens have a whole lot of players counting a whole lot of money toward the salary cap even before they pay Joe Flacco, and Kruger might be one of the players the Ravens just decide they can’t afford to keep.

That’s especially true because in 2013, with Terrell Suggs (hopefully) healthy for a full season and 2012 second-round pick Courtney Upshaw having a full season under his belt, outside linebacker is not a position of need for the Ravens. Kruger seems to understand that he may have played his last game with the Ravens.

“It’s something I’ve thought about from time to time, even through the season — this is my last year,” Kruger said of his current contract. “I’ve thought about it, but to come out here and end this way with a Super Bowl win, play on that stage with these guys, it was a storybook ending for sure.”