SportsLine.com has learned that the Rams and Marc Bulger agreed to a four-year, $17.25 million contract that includes a $9 million signing bonus. The terms were agreed to Tuesday, and pretty much assure the departure of Warner, the former Rams starter and two-time NFL most valuable player.
In a statement announcing Bulger's new contract, the Rams made no mention of Kurt Warner's status. Last week, Rams coach Martz said "at this point, our focus (is) to get something done with Marc and we'll take the next step from there."
In Tuesday's statement, Martz said "this is good for Marc, but is also good for the organization."
Bulger, who turned 27 on April 5, has been a big success in 1 1/2 seasons as a starter with the Rams. He won his first six starts in 2002 and led the team to a 12-4 record and an NFC West championship last year, then was the MVP in the Pro Bowl after throwing a record four touchdowns.
In 15 starts last season, Bulger threw for an NFC-best 3,845 yards on 336-of-532 passing, with 22 touchdowns and 22 interceptions for an 81.4 passer rating. Bulger, taken by the New Orleans Saints in the sixth round of the 2000 draft out of West Virginia, also gained 75 yards on 29 carries in 2003, with his four touchdown runs the most the most by a Rams' quarterback since Pat Haden had four in 1976.
|Kurt Warner will attract much interest, his agent says.(Getty Images)|
Warner's agent, Mark Bartelstein, said Tuesday night that his client expected to be released after June 1 -- and that he doubted Warner would be willing to back up Bulger or take a salary cut to stay with the Rams.
"We knew this was coming. This is not a surprise," Bartelstein said of Bulger's new contract. "Kurt wants to play, and I think there's going to be a lot of interesting situations out there for him (with other teams). Sometimes change is good, and that time may be here for Kurt."
Bartelstein said that since the Rams gave Warner permission to shop his skills elsewhere in the NFL, "we've talked to a number of teams, and there's certainly a lot of interest." Bartelstein declined to elaborate.
"We're just moving forward," he said. "Nothing is written in stone, and crazy things can happen every day. But that's the path we're headed down right now."
The Associated Press contributed to this report