The San Francisco 49ers have traded for Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Eric Wright, and naturally it raises plenty of questions about what is a rather stacked group of cornerbacks. As we consider what it means, I thought it would be helpful to have a better idea of Wright's contract situation. There were some question marks on Twitter, but I've found some clarification.
Prior to 2012, Eric Wright signed a five year contract worth $37.5 million. During that subsequent season, Wright was suspended for a positive drug test. He claimed it was Adderall, but either way, he had to sit out four games. After Wright's positive test, the Bucs used a clause in his contract to void his remaining guaranteed money. Wright filed a grievance, but he lost, leaving the Bucs in a position to do pretty much whatever they wanted with him. (Enter Seahawks fans jabbering about PEDs)
Wright and the Bucs eventually worked out a new contract. Wright was signed to a one-year deal worth $1.5 million with incentives that could boost it up to $3 million. Apparently, the incentives include playing time, team wins and a playoff appearance. He had previously been scheduled to earn $7.75 million this year. At the time of the renegotiation, Wright reportedly spoke with the coaching staff and was assured the team would not trade him. Whoops.
This has been a busy offseason for the Bucs as they traded for Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis, and then used a second round pick on cornerback Johnthan Banks. As most are speculating, Banks must have impressed in the offseason program, because the Bucs gave up Wright for nothing more than what is being described as a 2014 conditional late round pick. No word on the conditions.
The 49ers cornerback position is loaded with talent, but it is also loaded with a variety of players who are not necessarily situated for long term security with the 49ers. Carlos Rogers plays nickel, like Wright, and has a sizable contract the 49ers could decide to get out of sooner rather than later. Nnamdi Asomugha signed a one year deal that is heavily incentive laden, with no guarantees if Nnamdi is cut before the season starts. Tarell Brown is signed for one more year, and there has been no word of a contract extension.
While Brown won't be going anywhere this year, and Chris Culliver is signed as long as anybody, Rogers and Asomugha are on notice. Wright has no guarantees either after this trade, so it gives the 49ers a chance to really just roll everybody out there, and see who comes up strongest. The cornerback position battle at camp will be as interesting as they come. That and wide receiver will keep us plenty occupied when the team hits the practice field next week.