Veteran cornerback Shareece Wright said all along that he didn't view the one-year deal he signed with the Ravens in mid-October as a temporary arrangement. He viewed it as a long-term opportunity, a chance to play alongside his best friend and former high school teammate Jimmy Smith.
Wright is getting closer to getting his wish.
The Ravens are making progress on a deal with the cornerback just a couple of days before Wright is eligible to hit the free agent market, according to industry sources. Wright is expected in Baltimore this week to take a physical and likely finalize the deal.
Free agency opens at 4 p.m. Wednesday.
The Ravens are still expected to add at least one more cornerback either via free agency or the draft, but they view retaining Wright as an important first step. Wright, 28, played in 11 games with the Ravens in 2015 and started seven after they picked him up following his release from the 49ers. He finished the season with 40 tackles and five passes defended.
He got off to a rocky start with his new team. In his first game, he was beaten for two touchdown passes in the Ravens' loss to the 49ers on Oct.18. One of those was a 76-yard Colin Kaepernick touchdown pass to former Raven Torrey Smith.
However, the five-year veteran settled in and ultimately became the starter on the outside opposite Smith, who helped recruit him to Baltimore. The Ravens viewed Wright's play as one of the reasons that the team had the league's top-ranked passing defense over the final eight games of the season.
With Lardarius Webb moving to safety, the Ravens don't have another experienced outside cornerback to pair with Smith. Kyle Arrington is an eight-year veteran, but he's more suited to play in the slot. At 5-foot-10 and 182 pounds, Wright has the size and length that the Ravens are looking for on the outside.
If the deal with Wright gets done, that will leave the Ravens with just eight unrestricted free agents: quarterbacks Jimmy Clausen and Matt Schaub; wide receiver Chris Givens; tight end Allen Reisner; offensive lineman Kelechi Osemele; linebackers Courtney Upshaw and Chris Carter; and long snapper Morgan Cox.