After a tumultuous first season with his hometown team, Eric Wright will be back for another go. The San Francisco 49ers have re-signed the free agent cornerback for one season according to multiple reports. One of those reports came from Wright’s Instagram page (my, how free agency has changed in the last few years).
Wright was originally traded from Tampa Bay to San Francisco last year, but the deal was rescinded due to a failed physical. After sitting out the first several weeks of the season, Wright appeared in seven regular season games and two postseason games. He was listed as inactive for the NFC Championship.
Wright will get a chance to compete for significant playing time. Tarell Brown and Perrish Cox could leave as unrestricted free agents, Carlos Rogers was released today (a move that provides $6.6 million in cap savings) and two of the other four cornerbacks under contract — Darryl Morris and Dax Swanson — were non-contributors on defense last year (Morris played seven snaps, Swanson spent the last half of the season on the 49ers practice squad after being waived by the Colts).
That leaves Wright as a candidate to play in the nickel cornerback role, with Tramaine Brock and Chris Culliver the presumed starters. It’s likely the 49ers will use a high draft pick on a cornerback as well.
Lots of players relish the rare opportunity to play in the city in which they grew up. Donte Whitner sounded overjoyed about the chance to play in Cleveland based on his Twitter feed. But it’s hard to think of someone who’s enjoyed coming home as much as Wright, who wrote a couple weeks ago about his desire to spend an entire year with the 49ers.
I’m in a great mental space right now. I have the whole offseason and a fresh season ahead of me. I’m excited to hit the ground running, and really get into form and make my mark.
Obviously, it would mean a lot to me if I could return to San Francisco next season, and continue playing for the 49ers. I really appreciated the opportunity this year, but I think I could be even more valuable to the team starting a new season with them from the very beginning. Being with one team for offseason workouts and mini-camp, then trying to get acclimated to a new system at the end of training camp — that put me at a disadvantage for sure.
You can’t overstate the value of being able to have a full offseason with a team starting with mini-camp, then OTAs, offseason workouts, and then moving into training camp. Things like trust, cohesiveness, chemistry, knowledge of not only the playbook but your other players — a lot of that type of stuff is built during the offseason.
Wright was very emotional after the last game at Candlestick Park. Now he’ll get a chance to play in the first game at Levi’s Stadium.