Eric Wright’s odd summer takes him back to San Francisco
A little less than three weeks after attempting to trade for Eric Wright, the San Francisco 49ers signed the former Tampa Bay cornerback to a one-year deal. The team announced the move Thursday.
Of note, though, is that the 49ers placed Wright on the Non-Football Injury/Illness List, while GM Trent Baalke said in a statement, “Eric is currently tending to a personal matter and he will join the team as soon as possible.” That revelation adds another layer of mystery to what’s been a confounding summer for Wright.
The 28-year-old Wright was arrested in July on suspicion of a DUI, then traded to San Francisco in a rather nondescript deal — the 49ers gave the Buccaneers a conditional late-round pick for him. But Wright then failed his physical with the 49ers, voiding the trade. Tampa Bay released him immediately after the deal fell through.
San Francisco left the door open on possibly signing Wright at a later date. A season-ending ACL injury for CB Chris Culliver last week may have accelerated the process.
Following the failed physical-induced delay, Wright is back to where he was in late July: with a chance to bounce back from a falling out in Tampa Bay by winning a job with the defending NFC champions.
Culliver’s injury cleared some of the clutter off the 49ers’ secondary, meaning Wright is more of a need for the team now than he was a few days ago. Wright may find additional cushion should San Francisco opt to release the high-priced Carlos Rogers at some point. Wright still may wind up fighting for a roster spot, with the likes of Nnamdi Asomugha and Tramaine Brock, so the extra time off plus however long he lingers on the Injury/Illness list could add to the challenge.
Wright does bring six seasons and 81 starts worth of experience to San Francisco, adding another veteran presence to a cornerback group which also added Asomugha this offseason. He played just 10 games in 2012, as injuries and a four-game suspension held him out of the lineup.
Given how July and the start of August have played out for Wright, it’s worth holding a beat before offering any predictions about how he’ll fare with the 49ers. The only thing that is clear right now is this: San Francisco wanted Wright badly enough to chase him down twice in a matter of weeks, so the onus now falls on Wright to reward that interest.