The Buccaneers have announced that they have restructured the deal of cornerback Eric Wright and re-signed QB Dan Orlovsky. Both players have one-year deals with Tampa Bay, and Wright is expected to be one of the Bucs' starting cornerbacks again in 2013.
The Buccaneers announced that they have restructured the contract of cornerback Eric Wright, along with re-signing quarterback Dan Orlovsky. Both players are only signed through the 2013 season, and it’s safe to say that Wright took a significant pay cut from his previous contract, which was scheduled to pay him $7.75 million in base salary this year. NFL.com's Ian Rapoport reports that Wright's base salary is now $1.5 million and with incentives can only reach as much as $3 million.
Wright, who will turn 28 in July, met with Bucs general manager Mark Dominik last week to negotiate a pay cut for Wright, who signed a five-year, $37.5 million contract last offseason that featured guaranteed base salaries for the 2013 and 2014 campaigns. However, Wright was suspended four games by the NFL for using the performance-enhancing drug Adderall and that voided his guaranteed base salary this year. A month ago, Wright filed a grievance against the Bucs over his $7.75 million base salary but the team prevailed.
Restructuring Wright and having the team announce it via a press release likely means that the seven-year veteran will make the 2013 roster even though it looked like he might be released in the offseason when the Bucs decided to hold him out of the 2012 season finale win at Atlanta. The Bucs are desperate for help at cornerback after seeing the team’s pass defense finish dead last in the NFL last season, surrendering 297.4 yards per game through the air.
Tampa Bay passed on several high-priced cornerbacks in free agency, which made it necessary for the team to keep Wright, but the Bucs can continue to re-stock the position by re-signing former Bucs cornerback Ronde Barber. Barber was Tampa Bay’s starting free safety last year, but would likely play more of a nickel cornerback role with the signing of Pro Bowler Dashon Goldson should he return for a 17th season in the NFL.
Wright’s suspension-marred season was a disappointment in Tampa Bay as he notched just 39 tackles, seven passes defensed, one interception, which was returned 60 yards for a touchdown against the New York Giants, and one fumble recovery. The 5-foot-10, 200-pound cornerback has one year in the Bucs system and is expected to start opposite a rookie draft pick – likely a first- or second-round pick – or New York Jets Pro Bowler Darrelle Revis, whom the team is attempting to acquire via a trade.
While Wright came under fire for missing four games due a to suspension and two more due to an Achilles injury, the Bucs were 6-4 with him in the starting lineup.
With 81 career starts, Wright is credited with 362 tackles, 70 passes defensed, 14 interceptions, five fumble recoveries, three forced fumbles and a sack in his first six seasons in the NFL.
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