Cornerback Eric Wright has agreed to a deal with the Detroit Lions, the NFL Network’s Jason La Canfora reported. The news came just hours after elite corner Johnathan Joseph, rumored to be a Lions’ target, came to terms with the Houston Texans.
Wright’s a boom-or-bust acquisition for Detroit. He’s just 26 years old and showed steady improvement over his first three seasons in the NFL. However, in his fourth season — 2010 — he completely fell off the map, to the point where Cleveland benched him mid-season.
“Eric Wright, whatever happened to him I have no idea,” Browns GM Tom Heckert told The Plain Dealer in February. “If Eric Wright would have played like he played the year before, we probably would have had one of top (groups of) three guys around. But Eric Wright didn’t play very well.”
Enter the Lions, who opted to avoid breaking the bank for one of the few top-notch cornerbacks on the market and instead decided to take a chance on Wright. The UNLV product had four picks and 57 tackles in 2009, and looked like he was quickly developing into a shut-down cornerback.
However, the Ravens and Anquan Boldin ripped him to shreds in Week 3 last season, sending Wright into an unstoppable tailspin. His name was barely mentioned this offseason in discussions of available corners.
Wright’s got something to prove, though, and with his age and talent, could be in line for a huge bounce-back year. That fits him in perfectly with Detroit’s other cornerbacks, like Alphonso Smith and Nathan Vasher, who came to the Lions as castoffs.
It also puts him in a similar boat as Chris Houston, who stepped up huge for Detroit in 2011 after falling out of Atlanta’s plans. Houston’s still out there on the unrestricted free-agent market, and it’ll be interesting to see if he’s still part of the puzzle, or if Wright is meant to be his replacement.
Given Wright’s 2010 implosion and Houston’s resurgence, getting the latter back in Motown would be a wise move. There’s still work to be done on the defensive side of things before the regular season, so the door’s hardly closed on Detroit’s secondary.
It’s pushed a little further shut, however, with Wright’s arrival. The Lions just have to cross their fingers that they’re going to get the good version of Eric Wright, as opposed to the bumbling 2010 persona.