Posted July 19, 2013

Eric Wright traded by Buccaneers to 49ers, in surprise move

NFC South, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Eric Wright could push Carlos Rogers or Nnamdi Asomugha off the 49ers' roster. (Bill Kostroun, AP)

Eric Wright could push Carlos Rogers or Nnamdi Asomugha off the 49ers’ roster. (Bill Kostroun, AP)

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers appeared to have their cornerback position set for the upcoming season, with rookie Johnthan Banks jumping into the slot alongside Darrelle Revis and Eric Wright. That situation is a little uncertain now, with Friday’s surprising announcement that Tampa Bay has traded Wright to the San Francisco 49ers for a conditional late-round pick in 2014.

The move qualifies as unexpected for a number of reasons, not the least of which being that restructured his contract this offseason down to one year and $1.5 million, with no guaranteed money. He had signed a five-year, $38 million deal with Tampa Bay last offseason, but a large chunk of the guaranteed money included there ($7.75 million) voided when Wright was suspended for violating the league’s PED policy last season.

Wright and Tampa Bay butted heads over that loss of guaranteed money, and the Buccaneers reportedly put Wright on the trade block following the 2012 season. However, all indications were that the sides had reached an amicable enough point to last through 2013.

The decision to trade Wright instead hints that Tampa Bay may have been considering his outright release — the return from San Francisco works out to little more than a salary dump. Tampa Bay coach Greg Schiano has not hesitated to send packing players who do not fit his plan, on and off the field. Wright may have wound up in the doghouse one too many times. (Update: Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times reports that Wright was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence July 12 in Los Angeles.)

Wright’s departure likely also means that the Buccaneers plan to rely heavily on Revis, who’s still coming back from the ACL injury he sustained in 2012, and the rookie Banks. Of the remaining cornerbacks on the roster, Leonard Johnson saw the most action last season (594 snaps), when Tampa Bay had the NFL’s worst pass defense.

San Francisco, meanwhile, now has yet another experienced player to compete in its secondary. The 27-year-old Wright already has 81 career NFL starts to his credit and, with free agency looming after the 2013 season, ought to be plenty motivated to prove himself.

His arrival in San Francisco will put pressure on Carlos Rogers and Nnamdi Asomugha. Rogers signed a four-year, $29 million contract with San Francisco last offseason, but rumors swirled after the 49ers’ Super Bowl run that the organization was prepared to go in a different direction. Just $1.25 million of Rogers’ 2013 salary is guaranteed.

Asomugha inked a one-year deal with the 49ers in April. But he, like Wright, has no guaranteed money coming to him — Asomugha’s contract calls for a $1.35 million base salary plus incentives, including a $225K bonus if he’s on the roster for one regular-season game.

This whole situation came a bit out of left field but, in the end, San Francisco may benefit from Tampa Bay’s desire to rid itself of Wright.

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20 comments
StephenMetrulas
StephenMetrulas

His father won 4 super bowls with the 49ers. If any organization has the pull to make this guy get clean and reach full potential, it is the 49ers.

gusCOYS
gusCOYS

Agreed about being a great trade for SF.  After making the SB last season they need to build veteran depth and trading a pick for a good player on a contract with almost no guaranteed money is perfect.  If he plays, great,pay the man.  If he is a bust, cut him and move on

DavidHarte
DavidHarte

Great trade for SF...IF Wright can play.  But wouldn't this latest arrest be Strike 2?  And doesn't that trigger a long suspension?

donhusky007
donhusky007

what the good is a contract with no guaranteed money?  here, sign this, practice hard and help our team get better.  then you are cut before the first kick off.  screw the 49ers anyway.  go Seahawks.

randomdeletion
randomdeletion

Where is everyone?  No one is at espn anymore so where are they?  FFS

randomdeletion
randomdeletion

This is an irrelevant move for both teams.  It won't matter next year to the Niners or the Bucs.  The Bucs pass defense was pathetic and he was a key cog in the suck.  The Niners have no idea what they want.  I predict their secondary play will be even worse than it was toward the end of last year. 

6marK6
6marK6

There is trading someone and there is giving someone away.

djs425
djs425

Ironic Jim Harbaugh traded for a guy who was busted for PED's. Is he a cheater Jim? 49ers fans will totally defend this move too! Calling other cheaters, then they trade for one!

nfinitwordsfoto
nfinitwordsfoto

I don't think Wright was good but at $1.5 million, it seems kind of dumb to send him packing.  Even just keeping him around as insurance is better than getting a late round pick.  


xrayspectator
xrayspectator

@DavidHarte I don't understand how, but apparently the first DUI arrest didn't see charges pressed. He refused to take a breathalyzer test and it sounds like he somehow he got off. So this would likely be a warning and fine unless Goodell decides to go above and beyond (not unprecedented) for a repeat problem person.

geewhiz
geewhiz

@donhusky007 He hasn't earned the right to guaranteed money.  This knucklehead can't stay out of trouble off the field.  

kyyled5
kyyled5

@donhusky007 yeah your team is the only one that doesn't treat players like a commodity.


Psst: They are a commodity.

gusCOYS
gusCOYS

Just as I suspected, all the ESPN trolls were running multiple accounts

kyyled5
kyyled5

@djs425 Harbaugh is the coach, not the GM.

This is a no-risk move. Fair chance he doesn't even play one snap.

randomdeletion
randomdeletion

@nfinitwordsfoto Insurance to put on the field to get toasted instead of whoever was getting toasted that he replaces?  With a bad attitude and a recent arrest right after getting suspended, it is a good move to get the miscreant off the team.  Let the Niners have the bad attitude.