|Eric Wright's expected release is going to take a little longer. (USATSI)|
Eric Wright may have seen the writing on the wall in late-November when he was handed a four-game suspension for violating the NFL's performance-enhancement drug policy.
The suspension voided the guarantees in a five-year, $37.5 million contract Wright signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2012. Wright, who admitted to taking Adderall in July, has expected to be released for weeks since his $7.75 base salary for 2013 is no longer guaranteed.
Although the move could have come as early as this week, the former USC cornerback has been told that the Buccaneers may now wait longer than expected before making their decision, according to the Tampa Bay Times.
With veteran cornerbacks Chris Gamble and Rashean Mathis now available in free agency, a saturated market could lower Wright's value in the coming weeks. It is why Wright had hoped to be released as soon as possible if the Buccaneers decide to part ways.
From the Buccaneers' perspective, holding onto Wright makes sense, as they gauge the value for a starting cornerback in free agency. A favorable salary cap situation allows Tampa Bay to remain patient. The Buccaneers enter the free agency period roughly $30 million under the cap, providing them with room to operate even with Wright's contract on the books. Without any bonuses in his contract for 2013, Wright's cap hit of $7.75 million is the third-highest on the Buccaneers' roster behind defensive tackle Gerald McCoy and Josh Freeman.
In 2011, Wright's only season with the Lions, he tied for 10th among starting cornerbacks in pass defenses with 10. Wright struggled, though, last season, ranking 66th in pass coverage efficiency by Pro Football Focus among cornerbacks who received at least 25 percent of their team's total snaps.
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