The Ravens have taken out what amounts to a $3.8 million insurance policy on starting quarterback Joe Flacco by agreeing Wednesday to a contract with two-time Pro Bowl selection Marc Bulger to be his backup.
According to executive vice president and general manager Ozzie Newsome, Bulger will sign a one-year deal Monday or Tuesday contingent upon his passing a physical. ESPN reported the financial terms of the contract. The deal includes incentives that can boost the total value of the deal to $5.3 million, a league source confirmed.
Flacco, who has never missed a game in his two-year career, making 37 starts (including playoffs), will earn $2.66 million this season, according to NFL Players Association records.
The acquisition of Bulger, 33, is an indication that the Ravens are not confident in either Troy Smith or John Beck as Flacco's backup.
Smith, the 2006 Heisman Trophy winner at Ohio State who was a fifth-round draft choice in 2007, had requested a trade through his former agent to his hometown Cleveland Browns last winter. Beck, a former starter with the Miami Dolphins, was the Ravens' third-string quarterback last season.
Bulger took over as a starter for an injured Kurt Warner in 2003, led the Rams to a 12-4 record and was named that season to the Pro Bowl. He was a Pro Bowl reserve in 2006, when he passed for more than 4,000 yards and threw 24 touchdown passes, with eight interceptions.
Bulger signed a four-year contract worth $19.1 million in 2004, then signed a six-year, $62.5 million extension in 2007. He has not played well the past three seasons, hampered by injuries and a porous offensive line, throwing more interceptions (34) than touchdown passes (27).
In 2009, Bulger played in only nine games, starting eight, and threw for five touchdowns and six interceptions before he was placed on injured reserve in late December. He was released in April.
The nine-year veteran finished his tenure with the Rams first in franchise history in completions (1,969), second in passing yards (22,814), completion percentage (62.1) and passer rating (84.4), and third in touchdown passes (122) and attempts (3,171). He has 27games with 300 yards or more passing.
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