Tuesday, January 23, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs must make Wright decision

INDIANAPOLIS — The Bucs have a decision to make soon on CB Eric Wright.

The former Lions free agent was a disappointment to the Bucs in 2012 after signing a five-year, $37.5 million contract in March.

Wright also was suspended four games for violating the league performance-enhancing drug policy — he claims for using Adderall — and finished with only 39 tackles and one interception in 10 games. The suspension voided the $7.5 million in salary guarantees for 2013.

GM Mark Dominik is expected to use that get-out-of-jail-free card — unless the 27-year-old Wright agrees to a lesser salary, and there are indications he might do that.

But first, the team has to decide if Wright is worth the trouble. It faces the prospect of starting two rookie cornerbacks next season after trading veteran Aqib Talib to the Patriots last season. Leonard Johnson and Danny Gorrer did some nice things when pressed into starting roles, but they're not considered front-line players.

"(Wright is) another one that we're trying to evaluate in the whole grand scheme of the football team," coach Greg Schiano said. "He's under contract which is good for us, so we'll make a decision which way we're going to go when we do if there is something to do."

Dominik had even less urgency. "We've had very limited discussions and right now I'd say it's still too early to comment on it," he said.

Look for a decision in a few weeks.

Show me the money: Among the motivating factors for QB Josh Freeman is he is in the final year of his contract. If Freeman takes his team to the playoffs, there could be a bigger payoff from the Bucs.

"I know it makes sense when you're thinking it. But I don't think elite athletes think that way," Schiano said. "At Tuesday at 2 o'clock, when you're studying downstairs by yourself and all the other guys are off, I think it's the desire to win that drives guys to do this superhuman stuff we ask them to do. At the end of the day it's nice to get your paycheck, but that's not what (motivates) them."

Gator on Bucs radar? The Bucs need depth at running back. Doug Martin rushed for a rookie club record 1,454 yards and 11 touchdowns. But LeGarrette Blount will become a free agent at the end of 2013 and D.J. Ware is a third-down back.

One possibility might be Gators RB Mike Gillislee, who said he interviewed with Tampa Bay officials Thursday.

"I wouldn't compare my game to anyone, but I like Arian Foster," Gillislee said. "I like everything about him and his story. He came to the NFL as a free agent and somebody picked him up, he proved his point and now he's a starting tailback."

Gillislee, who led the Gators with 1,152 rushing yards and 10 TDs as a senior, is projected to go somewhere in rounds 3-5.

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