Lions CB Eric Wright agrees to 5-year deal with Bucs
The Bucs began the second day of free agency by addressing a hole in their defense, agreeing to terms on a five-year contract with Lions cornerback Eric Wright.
Tampa Bay yielded 30 touchdown passes last season and opposing quarterbacks had a 97.2 efficiency rating. Coach Greg Schiano noted how many big plays the Bucs defense gave up in 2011, allowing 49 pass completions of 20-yards or more.
Wright, 26, started every game in his first season with the Lions last season and recorded 74 tackles while tying a career-high with four interceptions.
Cornerback figured to be a priority for the Bucs when the free agent signing period began Tuesday. Ronde Barber, who turns 37 next month, has been invited back for a 16th season but told the team he needs more time to decide whether to play or retire. Aqib Talib is scheduled to stand trial in Texas March 26 on charges of assault with a deadly weapon.
Titans cornerback Cortland Finnegan, who reportedly drew interest from the Bucs, signed a 5-year contract worth $50-million with the Rams just hours after the start of the free agent signing period Tuesday.
The 5-foot-10, 190-pound Wright spent his first four pro seasons with the Cleveland Browns. He has 292 career tackles and 13 interceptions.
The Bucs priorities entering free agency was receiver and cornerback and they have addressed them both with the signings of Chargers free agent Vincent Jackson to a 5-year, $55.55-million contract and Wright.
Tampa Bay is believed to be close to completing a deal for Saints free agent guard Carl Nicks, who arrived in Tampa Tuesday night.
Barber said the Bucs planned to sign a free agent cornerback and select one in the NFL draft. The Bucs have the No. 5 overall pick and LSU's Morris Claiborne will be a consideration. Tampa Bay hired Tigers defensive backs coach Ron Cooper, but Schiano has cautioned not to assume that means Claiborne will be the Bucs' first-round pick.