The team announced Wright's signing and placement on the non-football injury list Thursday just as a 4 p.m. ET deadline for using the NFI designation on free agents was about to pass with the arrival of the 49ers' first exhibition game.
Eric Wright's Five-year Glance
Players on the NFI list can remain there to begin the season, at which point they stop counting against the active roster limit. Wright will count against the 90-man limit in the interim.
The 49ers acquired Wright from Tampa Bay before training camp, but the trade fell through when the team failed Wright on a physical examination. The 49ers subsequently lost third corner Chris Culliver to a torn ACL, increasing their need for options at the position.
Wright served a four-game suspension to end last season after violating the NFL's policy on performance-enhancing drugs. He has also been tied to off-field trouble, making the 49ers' interest in him a sensitive subject recently. Authorities dropped DUI charges against Wright last summer. Wright was reportedly arrested this offseason as well.
Adding Wright looks like a low-risk proposition from a football standpoint. The 49ers can cut him without financial consequence. They won't have to part with a late-round draft choice if Wright sticks on the roster and plays, as they would have under the trade they vacated.
It's unclear what is ailing Wright physically and when he might join the team for practices. The 49ers play their exhibition opener against Denver on Thursday night. They released cornerback Lowell Rose to make room for Wright on the roster.
The 49ers need additional options at cornerback while figuring out if Nnamdi Asomugha can help them.