First and Foremost, I am Doug Totten, a lifelong San Francisco 49ers fan and a new writer to NinerNoise.com. I am excited to be writing at least weekly about our beloved 49ers. As this is my first post, I find it appropriate to discuss a would-have-been new 49er, Eric Wright.
The newly unemployed Wright continues to generate headlines, especially in the Bay Area. 49ers General Manager Trent Baalke, according to 49ers.com, recently discussed the potential for adding Wright in the future: “We’re going to continue to do our due diligence like we do on all players. With respect to Eric, there’s always a possibility that he becomes a Niner at some point, it’s just not now.” So what is the 49ers’ plan at this point? Why did Baalke and Jim Harbaugh go out of their way to attempt to acquire a player who would have probably been cut anyway?
I wondered this same thing—why trade for a guy who will be cut—about the deal for Anquan Boldin. The Boldin trade made more sense, though, as he was a player who could have generated some buzz in free agency. Wright? I don’t think so. Yes, Wright had some issues in the (very recent) past, but just because the 49ers like respectable guys does not mean they are afraid of taking risks. Remember when we first picked up Ahmad Brooks? His alleged behavior recently garnered some headlines, yet he still holds a starting position and I have not seen fans—or the media—calling for his head. So it makes sense to take a risk on a guy. This still does not make sense of the trade. Perhaps the 49ers wanted a 1-year deal for a price tag that could put the 49ers closer to the cap. With the new CBA’s requirement that all teams maintain a payroll 95-100% of the cap over a certain number of years, this could have been a way to make it easier to achieve this. Besides, it would have eliminated any contract negotiations.
So what now? Though Baalke left the door open to bringing in Wright, I highly doubt that will happen, at least not this year. The first indication is Baalke’s phrase “not now.” Secondly, the 49ers re-signed CB Lowell Rose, a rookie free agent, whom the 49ers previously released on July 19, the day the news broke that the 49ers were trading for Wright. It seems that Rose was cut to make room for the newcomer, and now he has reclaimed his spot on the roster. This strongly suggests that the 49ers are done with Wright for a good while at the very least.
The 49ers have some work to do at cornerback, and though Wright may have helped, he probably would have done little more than push the other cornerbacks on the team. After the failures of the Mike Nolan and Dennis Erickson eras, I still trust Baalke and Harbaugh on calls like this, though I am not in the least upset that Wright will not put on the Cardinal and Gold. Hopefully Carlos Rogers and Nnamdi Asomugha will revert to old forms as Tramaine Brock and Tarell Brown continue to improve. I expect a solid secondary, but I would not be surprised at a first round corner in the next draft.
Thanks for reading. I look forward to sharing more with everyone weekly.