Ravens acquire Bulger as backup quarterback

The Baltimore Ravens have acquired some proven insurance behind starter Joe Flacco, agreeing to terms on a one-year, $3.8 million contract with former St. Louis Rams starter Marc Bulger. The transaction immediately bolsters the Ravens' quarterback depth chart by providing a viable option in case Flacco gets hurt.

Bulger, whose contract can be boosted to as high as $5.3 million if he triggers playing-time incentive clauses, was not signed with the intention of competing with Flacco. He'll operate solely as his backup.

Entering his third NFL season, Flacco has never missed a start since Baltimore drafted him in the first round out of the University of Delaware. In 32 starts, he has passed for 6,584 yards, 35 touchdowns and 25 interceptions for an 84.9 passer rating.

Bulger's arrival immediately clouds the future of former backup Troy Smith, a former Heisman Trophy winner from Ohio State who has repeatedly lobbied for a trade over the past year.

It's regarded as more likely that Smith would be moving on than John Beck. However, no change was immediately made to either player's roster status.

Bulger, 33, was released by the Rams in April prior to the NFL draft once management had made the decision to select University of Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford with the first overall pick of the draft.

A Pro Bowl selection in 2004 and 2006 when he passed for 4,301 and 3,964 yards, Bulger was signed to a six-year, $62.5 million contract in 2007 that included $27 million in guaranteed money.

The 6-foot-3, 208-pounder was named Pro Bowl MVP in 2004.

Since signing that contract, he has thrown 34 interceptions with only 27 touchdowns. Bulger arguably is still capable of playing at a high level.

His offensive line was substandard in St. Louis, and he worked with several different offensive systems and receivers in recent years.

He's familiar with offensive coordinator Cam Cameron's system and has worked in the past with Ravens senior consultant Al Saunders in St. Louis as well as offensive line coach John Matsko and running backs coach Wilbert Montgomery.

Bulger started eight games last season as the Rams finished 1-15, passing for 1,469 yards, five touchdowns and six interceptions with a 70.7 passer rating.

His play deteriorated as the team collapsed around him as he was taking a lot of punishment from pass rushers.

He ended the season on injured reserve with a fractured shin bone and the Rams signed A.J. Feeley this offseason.

As a starter for the Rams, Bulger went 41-54 as he completed 62.1 percent of his throws for 22,814 yards, 122 touchdowns and 93 interceptions. He owns a career passer rating of 84.4.

He's known for his accuracy, but hasn't posted a passer rating over 71.4 during the past three seasons.

"It is always hard to part ways with someone who care for and appreciate," Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo said in a statement when Bulger was released. "I will always be indebted to him for his work ethic, character and leadership. We wish him and his family nothing but the best."


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