While the Browns have implied that they would remain conservative this offseason with respect to free agency, the former third-round pick out of USC is widely rumored to come at a steep price: $20 million over five years with $8 million guaranteed. But his recent career arc should excite Browns fans.
After finding his way for a few years, Rucker came into his own in 2011, contributing 44 tackles and 4 sacks to a Bengals defense which ranked seventh in total defense. Rucker started 11 games at defensive end for the Bengals last season.
Like any intra-division acquisition, snatching up a promising young player like Rucker not only improves the Browns, but depletes their rivals' defense.
Rucker will compete for the defensive end spot opposite second-year pro Jabaal Sheard, whose athleticism in the pass-rush and run-stopping talent quickly made him a fan favorite after the Browns drafted him from the University of Pittsburgh in 2011.
While the Browns may still have a few more offers to extend to the right candidates, Tom Heckert, Mike Holmgren and Pat Shurmur have played their cards close to the vest this offseason.
Maybe all that talk is what we've been doing wrong all these years...
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