NFL Free Agency: Marc Bulger Vs. Matt Hasselbeck For 2011 Cardinals Quarterback

The quarterback position has been the talk of the town for months now, and it is certainly getting a bit frustrating because, due to the NFL labor dispute and potential lockout, there is not a single move now that can happen to address the situation. No trades of players can happen and no players can be signed or re-signed. So other than drafting a quarterback, the thought of trading for Kevin Kolb, Kyle Orton or even Matt Flynn, or signing Marc Bulger, or doing anything, it cannot happen. 

Here on RotB, we have read several posts about the quarterback position, whether it be a wishlist or making a case for Marc Bulger, that is the one main topic of interest we have here. 

There is, however, one interesting omission I have noticed. When people bring up quarterbacks, very few times is Matt Hasselbeck brought up. That is, except for having his less-talented-at-football brother Tim rip Bulger on television.

So if you would, bear with me. I know Bulger was a guy that is kind of like Kurt Warner. He played for the Rams, had injury issues, looks like is in decline and is very similar in skillset as Warner. He also was a desired target of Ken Whisenhunt and likely would have been on the team if it had not been for the Derek Anderson signing. 

After the jump, take a look and see which could be the better option for the Cardinals in 2011.

Age:

Marc Bulger is 33 and Matt Hasselbeck is 35. 

Statistics:

If you look at both guys, neither has been particularly good in a few years. The last "quality" year Hasselbeck had was in 2007, where his QB rating was 91.4, he threw for just under 4000 yards and 28 TDs, with only 12 INTs. 

Bulger's last statistically good year was 2006. That season his QB rating was 92.9 and he threw for over 4300 yards and 24 TDs to only 8 INTs.

Skillset:

Marc Bulger was almost a Kurt Warner clone. He has good arm strength, a quick release and great accuracy if he can get his feet set. He turns into a mess when pressured. He is quick to get rid of the ball and make decisions.

Hasselbeck is a very smart quarterback. He likes to work quickly and he makes quick reads and gets rid of the ball quickly. He has decent arm strength. He is quite accurate in short to intermediate routes, but can float the ball deep.

History in the division:

Both quarterbacks have been starters in the NFC West and are familiar with playing conditions. However, Hasselbeck has one very clear advantage -- being comfortable playing in Seattle. The playing conditions there and the crowd are factors whenever playing there. Hasselbeck would have no issue. He has been doing it for years.

Bulger played in St. Louis, which is, due to Kurt Warner, almost a second home game for the Cardinals. Playing there is no problem.

Durability:

In the three seasons since 2007, Hasselbeck has missed 13 games to injury. Bulger in three years after 2006 missed 12. Hasselbeck, though has had issues with his back, which is a concern. Bulger did not play in 2010 as he was backup to Joe Flacco in Baltimore. Obviously, he would have the fresher legs.

Competitive fire:

Hasselbeck has this one. Bulger's competitiveness is a bit under fire. Many believe he is very comfortable sitting on the bench and playing number two on a contending team. Hasselbeck reminds me of an undersized dog always looking for a fight. He loves to win and is fiery while on the field. There is no question who the leader is when he is under center.

Overall

It is interesting how one name can get bounced around enough that he becomes the favorite. Marc Bulger did not play a snap in 2010. Matt Hasselbeck led his team to a division championship and won a playoff game, knocking off the defending Super Bowl champions. Hasselbeck has been to a Super Bowl. Bulger played on bad Rams teams after Kurt Warner left and got beaten to a pulp.

Who is the better option? I am guilty of what everyone else is saying. Marc Bulger is the guy if going the free agent route, which is what will likely happen if there is a long work stoppage because the neither Denver or Philadelphia are likely to make a trade if the draft has already happened. I like Bulger's skillset better for the Cardinals and the way Ken Whisenhunt wants to play.

But if you look at the two guys side by side, Hasselbeck should be the better candidate. He has been playing, he has been playing in the Cardinals' division and he has won in that division, including this year.

There are other concerns, such as the fact that good receivers turn into crap in Seattle (see Deion Branch and TJ Houshmandzadeh) and a balky back and the two extra years in age and wear and tear. But in his defense, there are as many or more with Bulger.

But I think we have to look beyond our dislike of this rival team's QB and at least enter him into the conversation if Bulger is going to be included. So while Seattle supposedly would like him back again next season, it certainly would not be a bad idea to see what he could bring to the table. 

He would certainly be a better option than what was here last season.

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