The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are paying Major Wright as a starter. The team re-signed the veteran safety yesterday, and they'll be paying him $4.5 million over the next two years, with the first year fully guaranteed. All of that according to Rand Getlin.
That's not exactly high-end starter money, but it's not veteran-insurance, either. That's what you pay someone who you expect to play a pretty significant role on defense, or be a very high-level special teamer. Wright is not the latter, so it really can only be the former. That's slightly surprising given how much the Bucs talked up strong safety Bradley McDougald this offseason, which was fully deserved.
But Wright played well when asked to start last year. He was not an impact player, but he understood his tasks within the defense and carried them out competently. He was never a liability, and that's more than we can say for some other defensive backs.
Of course, salary doesn't say absolutely everything, and we don't know how they plan on using McDougald, Wright, Dashon Goldson (if he even sticks) and any other safeties they add. They may view one or more of those players as utility defensive backs who can play multiple positions, or they may plan to roll out more three-safety packages. Or this is just who they see as their starters going forward.
There's a third option. Last year, Lovie Smith talked about the importance of having multiple safeties, given that you end up needing more than one during almost every year. Safeties suffer injuries quite a bit. So Wright may just be little more than a very expensive backup, or competition for a starting position with McDougald. We'll see.