A two-time Pro Bowler who once topped 4,300 yards passing in a season, Marc Bulger will be one of the most sought-after quarterbacks on the free agent market this offseason.
Bulger should have a number of opportunities to end up somewhere as a starting quarterback next year, where he will see significantly more snaps than the zero that he received this season as the Ravens' backup.
It's widely assumed that Bulger will take a quarterback-needy team up on an offer to be their starter, but don't say your goodbyes to him just yet. Surprisingly, the 10-year veteran said yesterday that he would be interested in returning to the Ravens next season to back up Joe Flacco again.
And unlike many guys in Bulger's situation, he's not just blowing smoke when he says that. He means it.
"Not playing is kind of like being the designated driver New Years Eve," Bulger said. "You're going out and you're having fun, but you want to have more fun. But, it was a good time. This locker room is something special, and I'm just glad I got to be a part of it. I loved my time here so far, and I'd love to be back here."
When he signed with the Ravens in June after getting released by the Rams, Bulger knew he was coming in as Flacco's backup. He says he knew that if he didn't play, then the Ravens were going to have a good year, and Flacco was going to have a good year, as well.
Because he knew exactly what he was getting, Bulger wasn't disappointed by his lack of chances to play this season.
"I know I can be a starter. I know I'm good enough," Bulger said. "But like I said, my role coming in here was to back up. I know my role here and if I came back, it would be the same thing."
Could he be a backup QB again next year?
"Here, I could be," Bulger responded.
The major reason why Bulger signed on with the Ravens last year wasn't the $3.8 million he received for the 2010 season, although that probably didn't hurt. Sick of losing after seeing his Rams only earn six wins in three seasons, he wanted to be a part of a winning organization and have a shot at a Lombardi Trophy.
After experiencing a run to the divisional round of the playoffs, Bulger again might need to decide what his priorities are - playing or winning. And while the opportunity to be a starter will be enticing, he says he wouldn't mind being the designated driver on New Years Eve again if it meant another shot at a ring.
"At this point in my career, I think it is more about winning than anything else," Bulger said. "That's pretty much why I came here. I wanted to get a Super Bowl, but we came awfully close. This seems like a perfect organization for myself.
"You can be satisfied in this league winning if you're not playing. This locker room is so unselfish, I wasn't going to be the only unselfish guy in this locker room. I think being a Raven, you understand that walking into this locker room it's more about the team than it is any individual. You learn that the first day you're here and that's why I can completely accept that role here."