Friday, July 19, 2013

49ers Add Eric Wright to Cornerback Competition

After identifying cornerback as an area in which this team could improve after last season, the 49ers have been proactive in doing just that. They brought in former pro-bowler Nnamdi Asomugha earlier this offseason and have just now completed a trade with the Tampa Bay Bucs that landed them Eric Wright.

All the Niners had to part with in order to obtain Wright was a conditional late round pick in next April's draft, so on the surface, it looks like the 49ers could come away with a steal. Wright had a big year in 2011 in which he recorded 73 tackles and 4 interceptions with 16 PD's. However, he was suspended for PED use and missed 6 games in 2012 which resulted in an off-year (34 Tackles, 1 Int). Much like Asomugha, Wright will be trying to get back to his career norm with the fresh start in San Francisco, and I definitely think it was a good add. Not to mention, he restructured his deal with Tampa earlier this summer and his salary figure for 2013 is just $1.5M guaranteed. I'm just a little curious as to why Tampa was willing to dump him so cheaply. His salary base for next year wasn't large, he's a free agent after the season and he was slated to line-up opposite of Darelle Revis to compose one of the better CB duo's in the league. Either way, it's a risk I think the 49ers were well off in taking.

Now, what does this do to the 49ers already growing depth at corner? Again, they brought in Asomugha earlier this summer and if he plays anything like he did when he was across the bay in Oakland, then he's a sure fire #1 corner for this team. The same can be said for Wright. If the season started tomorrow, I'm sure Carlos Rogers and Tarell Brown would get the nod, but Jim Harbough has this competition wide open and if the two newcomers play up to their standards, then they should be starting come September. There's also Chris Culliver (who looked like a budding star at times last season), Parrish Cox and Tramaine Brock who all played significant roles in the 49ers Super Bowl run last season. The 49ers secondary was certainly a weakness as the season wore on last year, and was exposed badly in the Super Bowl by a team that wasn't considered a top passing squad. Now they'll be asking rookie Erick Reid to step into the departed DaShon Goldson's spot, which is going to be huge shoes to fill for the first rounder, so it's going to be key that this team is strong, and deep, at the corner position.

The one guy who could become expendable now is Carlos Rogers. His play deteriorated down the stretch last season and he was nowhere near the player he was for this team in 2011. Plus the Niners could clear $5 million in cap space by releasing him. However, he was the teams top CB in 2011, and they may roll the dice on the chance of him bouncing back to that form. Either way, it should be a situation to monitor closely in the coming weeks.

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