49ers sign Lions tight end Brock Wright to a restricted free agent offer sheet

The Lions now have a decision to make on restricted free agent tight end Brock Wright.
Nic Antaya/GettyImages

In an unexpected free agency plot twist on Friday, the Detroit Lions now have a decision to make. According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, the San Francisco 49ers have signed restricted free agent tight end Brock Wright to an offer sheet.

The Lions gave Wright a one-year right of first refusal/original round tender offer worth $2.985 million earlier this month. Wright was free to seek a deal elsewhere, with the Lions holding the right to match. They have five days to match the 49ers' offer.

The terms of the 49ers' offer are not known yet. As Rapoport noted, if the Lions don't match they will not get any draft pick compensation because Wright was undrafted in 2021.

Wright signed with Detroit in 2021 as a undrafted free agent out of Notre Dame. He has not put up big numbers (43 catches and seven touchdowns in three seasons), but he has been a key part of the Lions' offense as a blocker with an occasional moment where he has made a play in a big spot. He missed three games with a hip injury last season, playing 36 percent of the Lions' offensive snaps.

Will the Lions match the 49ers' offer sheet to Brock Wright?

As mentioned, the terms of the 49ers' offer sheet are unknown as of the news of it being signed. But it's fair to assume it's more than the non-guaranteed, one-year, $2.985 million tender, or Wright would not have signed it.

Update, 9:50 p.m. ET: According to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press, the 49ers’ offer sheet is three years, $12 million.

Update, March 30, 11:50 a.m. ET: According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, the 49ers' offer sheet to Wright includes $6 million guaranteed.

It's rare for a restricted free agent tender to be followed by an offer sheet from another team, and it's rare for said offer sheet to not be matched by the original team. In 2019 the Lions signed Rams running back Malcolm Brown to an offer sheet, and the Rams matched it.

That said, the reported $4 million per year, let alone a three-year deal, is getting into pricey territory for a No. 2 tight end who mostly serves as a blocker (and, based on Pro Football Focus grades, not a particularly good blocker). PFF gave Wright a 45.9 run blocking grade last year (65th out of 76 eligible tight ends). But his pass blocking grade (64.0) was better than Sam LaPorta's (59.6), albeit over fewer snaps.

If the Lions let Wright go, they'll be down to James Mitchell and Shane Zylstra under contract at tight end along with LaPorta.