The 49ers today agreed to trade a conditional, late-round draft pick in 2014 to Tampa Bay for cornerback Eric Wright, a player they briefly had pursued when Wright was a free-agent last year. Wright, 27, is the ninth cornerback on the roster and one of several veterans at the position. However, five of those cornerbacks, including Wright, are scheduled to be free agents after this season, and it is an area of concern for the team moving forward.
Wright, who is a San Francisco native, signed a five-year, $37.5 million deal with the Buccaneers last year. Tampa Bay almost immediately regretted the acquisition.
Wright was arrested for felony DUI last July in Los Angeles after being involved in an accident with another vehicle that resulted in an injury to the other driver. He was never charged in the case. Last week, however, he was arrested on misdemeanor charges in Los Angeles, according to the LAPD, and posted a $5,000 bond. The Tampa Bay Times reported that he was arrested on suspicion of DUI, a misdemeanor.
Wright is now one of four 49ers to be arrested for DUI in the last year and a half. The others are Aldon Smith, Demarcus Dobbs and Al Netter. The timing of the Wright trade raises questions, especially since Jim Harbaugh warned players late last month to stay out of the police blotters during the seven weeks before training camp begins. Rookies reported for camp today; veterans will report Wednesday.
Wright must pass a physical next week before the trade can be finalized. Because it's a conditional trade, if he didn't make the 49ers' regular-season roster, they would not owe the Buccaneers a draft pick.
Wright also was suspended for four games during the season for violating the league's performance-enhancing drug policy. He tested positive for Adderall, he said at the time. (You may have heard that Harbaugh recently tweaked the arch-rival Seahawks for their rash of allegedly Adderall-related suspendions). Wright's contract recently was renegotiated, and the 49ers are on the hook for $1.5 million this season.
In 10 games last year, Wright had 37 tackles and returned his one interception 60 yards for a touchdown. He'll join a group of veterans that includes starters Carlos Rogers and Tarell Brown, No. 3 cornerback Chris Culliver as well as veterans Nnamdi Asomugha, Tramaine Brock and Perrish Cox. Asomugha, Brown, Brock, Cox* and Wright are scheduled to be free agents in March while Rogers is due to count a team-high $8.1 million against the 49ers' salary cap next season.
The team also has two rookies, seventh-round pick Marcus Cooper and undrafted free agent Darryl Morris. The 49ers waived another undrafted rookie, Lowell Rose, this morning. The 49ers had 10 draft picks, not including expected compensatory picks, in 2014 before today's trade.
To read more about the 49ers' cornerback conundrum in 2014, click here.
*Cox is scheduled to be a restricted free agent.
-- Matt Barrows