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Eric Wright high-pointed the ball for a game-sealing pick against the rival Seahawks.
This latest selection comes in a quasi two-for-one package.
If the first option doesn’t work, then the second will. And if the team wants to sign both, they probably can.
Eric Wright appeared in seven games off the bench for the 49ers last year. He occupied a spot on the non-football injury/illness list for the first nine contests after being released by Tampa Bay in the offseason.
Wright initially landed in San Francisco via trade but failed his subsequent physical. He eventually signed with the team in August as a free agent. His deal netted him $715,001.
The 2007 second-round pick out of UNLV served as both left and slot cornerback in limited action. He produced his best outing against the Seattle Seahawks in Week 14 with two pass breakups and an interception in the fourth quarter.
Strangely enough, Wright was a healthy scratch against Seattle in the NFC Championship. Bill Williamson of ESPN points to “rumblings” that the 49ers were “unhappy with his preparation later in the season.”
The veteran scribe does not believe Wright will return in 2014. He does note, however, that a minimum contract is still feasible.
Perrish Cox, meanwhile, experienced quite the tumultuous 2013.
Cox spent the first 10 weeks with San Francisco…was released…signed with the Seahawks…played 11 snaps over two games in Weeks 15 to 16…and then arrived back with the 49ers in time for the playoffs.
Still with us?
He then started in place of an injured Carlos Rogers in the Wild Card matchup with the Green Bay Packers. He played the slot and registered one pass breakup and one quarterback pressure of Aaron Rodgers.
Cox received a negative grade from Pro Football Focus due to some questionable work in coverage. He fortunately rebounded in the Divisional Round by notching two pass breakups versus the Cam Newton-led Carolina Panthers.
Prominent 49ers insider Matt Maiocco of CSN Bay Area reports that the team will unlikely tender the restricted free agent Cox. Yet, like Wright, he could easily sign a minimum deal sometime down the road.
So, what will become of these two unsigned 49ers? And why do they qualify so high on this list?
Both Wright and Cox possess intimate knowledge of Vic Fangio’s defensive schemes. Each can operate outside and in the slot, and can be had on the cheap.
Even though Cox ascended the depth chart over Wright in the postseason, team brass thought highly enough of both of them at some point or another.
Head coach Jim Harbaugh offered this tidbit about Wright to The Associated Press at the time of his acquisition (via ESPN):
We're looking forward to Eric getting back to being the player that he thinks he can be and we think he can be…That would be a great story for him to be able to do that. It would be great for us if he can get there. We'll work with him.
Now, do the 49ers still feel this way? Will they bring Wright back and let him further realize his once-established production?
Our thoughts are that the Wright-Cox duo will return due to their waning market value outside of San Francisco. The former is good enough when on the field, and the latter is an entirely cap-friendly signing.
They will satisfy the 49ers’ lower depth-chart needs if they can beat out whichever NCAA prospects the team selects in the draft.