The other shoe drops: Marc Bulger is a free man

get out of jail free card

When the Redskins pulled out of the Sam Bradford sweepstakes, choosing the “win now” option of Donovan McNabb over the “rebuild for the long term” option of a high-pick quarterback, it meant there was no looking back for the Rams. Well, the Rams officially went all-in on their decision to get that high-round quarterback, by releasing Marc Bulger.

Considering the years of punishment Bulger took in a Rams uniform — working behind an often disinterested or untalented offensive line; waiting for the beauty of various exotic offensive patterns to slowly unfold (as his receivers got slower and less capable); and paying the physical price exacted by opposing defensive linemen, as well as the verbal scorn unleashed by bitter fans — this should be considered a “release,” and not a “cut.”

In a statement, coach Steve Spagnuolo said: “It is always hard to part ways with someone you care for and appreciate. . . . I will always be indebted to him for his work ethic, character and leadership. We wish him and his family nothing but the best.”

— Around the Horns: Rams Release Bulger

Is it coincidental that the Rams came to decision on Marc Bulger within hours of the McNabb trade? Bernie Miklasz says “no.”

Rams kept Bulger just in case they traded down with Washington; McNabb deal takes it off the table.

If I’m reading correctly, Bulger was their “Plan B” or “Plan C” to start if the Rams were able to get their “King’s Ransom” trade package for the top overall pick. But with only the Redskins as viable trade partners, that option is out the window. But I believe there’s another X-factor at work here: The assumed availability of Jason Campbell blows up any market for possibly trading Marc Bulger.

Campbell is younger, cheaper, every bit as good (or bad, depending on your perspective) and has lost far fewer games to injury than Bulger. The only comparative benefit might be that the price tag for acquiring Bulger via trade (i.e. picks given up) would be lower than the price for acquiring Campbell. But when Peter King openly speculates that Campbell might be worth a “fifth round pick” (hat tip to Van Ram at TST for the citation), then Bulger’s draw by comparison is effectively zero.

As ESPN’s Mike Sando says, the Rams were going to part ways with Bulger one way or the other, at least at his salary. Rather than continue to say that “Marc Bulger is a member of this team” as talks with Bradford continue to heat up, and possible suitors for him fall away, the Rams made the logical choice and released him.

This also does Bulger a huge favor — he has time before the draft to openly seek employment elsewhere if that’s what he wants, and any interested team will have the knowledge that they don’t need to waste a draft pick on a low-end QB when #10 is freely available. Or, if Bulger chooses retirement, he does so now with no financial penalty or payment due back to the Rams.