ST. LOUIS (AP) -Marc Bulger's numbers put him in the top tier of NFL quarterbacks, and now he has a contract to match.
"He'll be in the very upper echelon of quarterbacks," said Tom Condon, Bulger's agent.
Bulger, coming off a career year, was a no-show for a mandatory team meeting Thursday and is in the final year of a four-year, $19.1 million contract with a salary of about $4 million for this year.
"The whole time we knew it was going to get done, it was just a matter of logistics," Bulger said. "The numbers are one thing. It's huge. The first contract was a life-changer and this is a life-changer."
Bulger took some of the first snaps of training camp for the Rams, coming off an 8-8 year in coach Scott Linehan's first season. Carriker, the 13th overall pick of the draft, did not participate in the opening workout because he had not signed a contract agreed to early Friday. But he was expected to be on the field for an evening practice.
Team president Jay Zygmunt said director of football operations Samir Suleiman had been awake 24 hours for negotiations.
"In all my years, it's been a unique situation," Zygmunt said.
Bulger had threatened to hold out without a new deal, and skipping the meeting while negotiations intensified might have sent a strong message. Condon said, though, that Bulger would have reported on Friday with or without a deal.
Bulger disagreed with a headline in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that referred to the situation as a "holdout," Linehan said Thursday after talking to the quarterback that it was an excused absence.
"Fashionably late," Linehan chimed in. "I didn't think anybody doubted for a minute that he'd be here. I'm not saying it's fair to say it's not his style, but Marc wants to help this team win a championship, and he knows to do that he's got to be out here."
Linehan said he and Bulger had a "little conversation" before practice.
"I kind of gave him a look," the coach said. "I said 'You owe me for all the heartache you gave me last night."'
Bulger's previous contract had put him near the middle of the NFL in terms of salary for his position. Before camp, the team had said signing Bulger to an extension was a top priority. Both parties said negotiations began in February.
Bulger had the best year of his career, throwing for 4,301 yards with 24 touchdowns and eight interceptions last season. He completed 62.9 percent of his passes and ranked fourth in NFL passing.
Carriker played defensive end at Nebraska, where he was the Big 12 defensive lineman of the year as a senior and had a team-leading seven sacks. He is expected to move to defensive tackle for the Rams, whose major weakness is in the interior line.
"We'll see when we start playing, but I'd be real surprised if he's not a heck of a football player," Linehan said. "That's why we drafted him."
Carriker's signing puts all of the team's draft picks under contract.