Marc Bulger is the perfect example of a free agent who could likely get screwed with the current lack of a CBA. By all account, Bulger has found his competitive rhythm again in Baltimore. When I last sat down with Bulger in the 2008 season, he was a defeated man. The mess in St Louis defined by a meager offensive line and no receivers, had Bulger questioning his abilities.
Yet, this is a guy who has a career completion percentage above 60% and a plus 4,000-yard year with 24 TD’s and 8 INT’s in 2006. By going to Baltimore and backing-up/mentoring Joe Flacco, Bulger has been rejuvenated by being around a talented group or players and solid coaching staff.
Herein lies the dilemma. Two teams that should be very interested in Bulger’s services are the Arizona Cardinals and the San Francisco 49ers. Both are good teams that are a QB away from again being competitive in their Divisions (albeit the NFC West). In a normal year, both would begin to court Bulger while keeping an eye on the draft with the possibility of taking Blaine Gabbert, the only QB in this years draft worthy of a top ten pick in my opinion. This way, Bulger could give them a solid veteran starter as Gabbert is molded into an NFL quarterback. Or if for example, Arizona were to decide that the #5 overall pick has greater value at another position, say Von Miller or Robert Quinn, they wouldn’t be forced to draft a quarterback because of the already acquired Marc Bulger.
San Francisco, on the other hand, is in even a tougher spot. Gabbert would be a good value for them at #7, but they have to be concerned that he may not slip past Arizona. In my opinion, the cost and sacrifice is too much to move up ahead of them.
If free agency doesn’t happen until after the April, then both these teams may address their QB issues in the draft, and Bulger, who is 33, may have fewer suitors for his services. He can go back to Baltimore as a backup where he made $3.8 million last year, not bad for a guy who did not have to take a single snap. But at this stage of his career, he may want to give one more run at a starting position. Because of the lack of CBA, he may not have that chance.