2. Mark Bulger
Tenure with the LA Rams: 2002-2009
The LA Rams did not make the same decision with Mark Bulger that they did with Jerome Bettis and eventually Todd Gurley. They did not let a young talented player walk away with the potential of them thriving elsewhere, instead, they locked Bulger down to a six-year, $62.5 million contract, which was the largest in team history.
The Rams signed Bulger to this lucrative contract after the 2006 season, where Bulger had one of just six 4,000-yard seasons in franchise history. He completed 62.9 percent of his passes for 4,301 yards with 24 touchdowns and eight interceptions.
Bulger definitely had a feel-good story. He bounced around on practice teams until he landed with the Rams, and filled in as a third-string when Kurt Warner and Jamie Martin got hurt. The Rams went 6-0 in Bulger’s first six starts and lost his seventh start when he was knocked out early and only had one pass attempt.
Bulger won the starting job from Warner the following year and had his first Pro Bowl year. He led the Rams to the playoffs in 2004 and was 36 yards shy of 4,000 passing yards in 14 games and was banged up the following year but was on pace for over 4,500 yards.
Bulger rose to the top and was one of the best quarterbacks in the league. Heck, he became the fastest quarterback in NFL history to 1,000 completions.
He fell just as quickly as he rose. Bulger got banged up in his first year after signing that lucrative deal and posted the worst passer rating of his career, and it was never the same after that. He had a 91.3 career passer rating at the time of signing his deal and had a 70.9 passer rating in his last three years with the Rams.
He would only play out half of his contract before being released and he was never a starter again. Bulger looked to be on a historic pace and fell off the path as quickly as he jumped on.