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  • Eric Wright is acquired by the 49ers for a late-round 2014 draft pick. The veteran had 37 tackles and an interception last season for Tampa Bay.

  • Matt Barrows

49ers acquire troubled cornerback Wright from Buccaneers

Published: Saturday, Jul. 20, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 2C
Last Modified: Sunday, Jul. 21, 2013 - 10:47 am

SANTA CLARA – The 49ers on Friday traded a conditional, late-round draft pick in 2014 to Tampa Bay for cornerback Eric Wright, a talented but troubled player they briefly pursued when he 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 that is a concern for the team.

Wright, a San Francisco native, signed a lucrative contract with the Buccaneers last year, but Tampa Bay regretted it almost immediately.

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, but Wright wasn't charged in the case.

Last week, he was arrested on suspicion of DUI, a misdemeanor, in Los Angeles, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.

Wright is one of four 49ers who have been arrested for DUI in the last 18 months. The others are Aldon Smith, Demarcus Dobbs and Al Netter.

The 49ers said they knew about Wright's most recent incident before finalizing the trade.

"We are pleased to add Eric to our team," general manager Trent Baalke said in a statement. "As an organization, we have done our due diligence and anticipate Eric working hard to contribute to the 49ers."

Wright's attorney, Jeremy Lessem, said Friday that Wright has not been charged and that it may be weeks until the Los Angeles city attorney's office makes a determination on the case. Wright was given a chemical test to determine his blood-alcohol limit. The results of that test are not made public.

Lessem said the city attorney never charged Wright in last year's case and that a breath test taken at that time registered 0.0.

Wright is scheduled for court on Aug. 7, a day before the 49ers host the Denver Broncos in the team's preseason opener, but he does not have to be present.

Wright also has run afoul of NFL policies. He was suspended for four games during the 2012 season for violating the league's performance-enhancing drug policy. He later said he tested positive for Adderall.

The trade involves a conditional late-round draft pick in 2014, meaning if Wright does not make the roster, the 49ers won't owe the Buccaneers anything.

The 49ers currently have 10 picks in the upcoming draft.

Wright's five-year, $37.5 million deal with the Buccaneers recently was renegotiated, and the 49ers are on the hook for just $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, as well as Chris Culliver, Nnamdi Asomugha, Tramaine Brock and Perrish Cox.

Asomugha, Brown, Brock, Cox and Wright are scheduled to be free agents in March, and Rogers is due to count a team-high $8.1 million against the 49ers' salary cap next season. Cox will be a restricted free agent.

The team also has two rookie cornerbacks, seventh-round pick Marcus Cooper and undrafted free agent Darryl Morris. The 49ers waived another undrafted rookie, Lowell Rose, on Friday.

Read Matthew Barrows' blogs and archives at www.sacbee.com/sf49ers and listen for his reports Tuesdays on ESPN Radio 1320. Follow him on Twitter @mattbarrows.

© Copyright The Sacramento Bee. All rights reserved.

Read more articles by Matthew Barrows



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