Friday, May 21, 2010
Bulger would have implications for Cards
By Mike Sando
Jason Cole's note about the Arizona Cardinals still having potential interest in Marc Bulger includes this line: "The thinking is that the Cardinals may be able to revive Bulger’s career in much the same way they revived Kurt Warner’s career the past three years."
My initial reaction was that Bulger struggled more last season than Warner struggled in 2004, the year before Warner signed with Arizona. The chart compares their numbers -- Warner from 2004, Bulger from last season -- and the numbers are closer than I thought. Warner played on a better team, a significant benefit to his yards per attempt.
Without question, Bulger would look a lot better throwing to Larry Fitzgerald and Steve Breaston than he looked throwing to the Rams' injury-depleted receiving corps last season.
The Bulger-to-Arizona rumors have been out there for a while. The Cardinals had interest in Bulger before the Rams released him. They had made a play for Charlie Whitehurst and signed Derek Anderson as a fallback before the Rams released Bulger. I think Matt Leinart and Anderson would have to struggle badly for the team to sign Bulger.
A few issues and subplots to consider as part of this storyline:
- Anderson's deal included a $2.5 million signing bonus, enough to give him at least some measure of security.
- Adding a veteran with Bulger's profile might signal dissatisfaction with Leinart, making Leinart less viable in Arizona.
- Agent Tom Condon represents Bulger and Leinart. What assurances might Leinart want if Bulger came aboard?
- David Dunn is Anderson's agent. Condon and Dunn are the dominant agents for quarterbacks.
- The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported early this offseason that Bulger was considering retirement.
- The current Arizona coaching staff inherited Leinart and therefore has less invested in him. Of course, the staff inherited Warner, too.
The bottom line is that coach Ken Whisenhunt has shown he'll play the best players. If Leinart or Anderson doesn't perform to his liking, we can expect Whisenhunt to consider his options. Adding Bulger could be one of those options, with potentially significant ramifications.
Update: Steve Wyche of NFL.com quotes Cardinals general manager Rod Graves as saying, "Right now, we’re not looking outside of our group" and the team has had no contact with Bulger. The "right now" part is a given. The question is only what may or may not happen down the road.