What what was that? Seriously. Five years and $37.5 million is way too much to be paying Eric Wright, because he’s not the player the Bucs need. Wright is one of the best cornerbacks in run support in the NFL, but he is subpar in coverage. Wright has talent, but he has never put it together during his five-year career and doesn’t deserve to be making over $7 million per year over five years.
Cornerbacks that are already less than adequate in coverage are only going to get worse with age, so giving a 27-year-old (by Week 1 of next season) starter at the position a five-year deal is not ideal. He will decline at 30 and approach his nadir in the last year of his contract. Eric Wright will always be a good run stopper, so he does have value to this team.
Heck, Eazy-E (sorry, had to) does have value to this team. His ability to stop the run makes him at least an adequate nickel corner, even if he has never- and may never- realize his full potential due to his struggles in pass coverage. During the last two months of the season, Wright played so poorly that many analysts, the ones who notice these things, believed that Wright was playing himself out of a contract. Much to their surprise, this has not been the case, thanks to the Bucs eagerness to spend.
I understand that Wright is a nice upgrade over the aging Ronde Barber at the nickel, but he’s still not the guy who you spend piles of money on. He’s going to help this team, but it isn’t worth the cost at all. The Bucs do need better tacklers in the secondary, but that comes in at safety. Above all else, the Bucs needed cornerbacks that can cover. Signing Wright would have made sense if he was getting paid half of what he received, because he is, when it’s all said an done, an underachieving player who is subpar.
What the Bucs need to do is to assess the situation with Aqib Talib and their draft situation. I would definitely draft Morris Clairborne, but I would also think about signing another corner. It all depends on the organization’s evaluation of Talib going forward, because they should sign a solid corner if they don’t view Talib as a part of their future. I think they do, so they need to stand pat for now. Making this deal hurts them more than it helps, because money is not infinite. Even if the Bucs have a large amount of cap space, it still isn’t smart to spend that much money on an overvalued corner.
Wright is a nickel corner- and a poor one at that- so he shouldn’t be making over $5 million. The fact that he is getting five years makes it even worse, and I don’t know why the Bucs are suddenly viewed as Super Bowl contenders by some. They aren’t even the best team in their division, or the second best team in the division. They are headed in the wright direction (typo intended), but they need more help in the back seven- especially at linebacker.
Signing Eric Wright to this kind of a deal shows that this team needs to think things through and isn’t a true contender yet. It’s great to be aggressive, but teams are built on good decisions, especially the good teams. The Bucs can’t just allocate an insanely high amount of resources (in this case, money) to a player who had a terrible year last year. He can turn things around, but nickel corners that obtain five years and over $35 million are those established, top players. Wright isn’t one of them, even if he has talent. He’s not consistent, and he isn’t good in coverage. Let’s face it, it was a bad deal no matter the hype. Don’t listen to Eazy-E, turn up that Public Enemy.
You can follow Joe Soriano on Twitter @SorianoJoe.