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Rick Stroud, Greg Auman and Matt Baker

Bucs come out on top in Eric Wright grievance



The Bucs are one step closer to releasing cornerback Eric Wright, if they so choose, after the team was declared the winner in a grievance filed by the player over the voiding of his contract’s guarantees.

The Bucs have long held that, based on the contract’s language, they had the right to void the remaining $7.75 million in guarantees in Wright’s contract as a result of his violation o the NFL’s performance-enhancing drug policy last season.

But Wright and his agents contested it, claiming the team had no such ability based on the contract’s terms. An arbitrator disagreed.

That means Wright remains in limbo, expecting to be released as the club has shown intentions of moving on. Keeping him on the roster, for now, is the lack of depth at cornerback, where the Bucs struggled to find available players last season, resulting in franchise-worst pass-defense numbers.

The fact that the Bucs allowed the case to reach arbitration suggested they were confident in their stance. In instances where teams are less confident in a ruling, they often will attempt to negotiate a settlement with a player. The Bucs aren’t believed to have engaged in any such conversations with Wright.

Wright is scheduled to make $7.75 million in 2013, the second year of a 5-year contract. But the team is unlikely to ever pay it. If the Bucs don’t release him and void the contract, they will, at minimum, demand a drastic salary reduction.

[Last modified: Friday, March 15, 2013 3:31pm]


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