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Donte Whitner expects to sign with the Browns today

Whitner AP

Donte Whitner could be a member of the Cleveland Browns within a few hours.

Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports that Whitner expects to sign with the Browns as soon as free agency officially opens at 4 p.m. Eastern. In Cleveland, Whitner would fill a void in the secondary left by safety T.J. Ward, who is expected to leave in free agency.

The 28-year-old Whitner started all 16 games for the 49ers last season, and the 49ers are interested in re-signing him. But the Browns have more cap space than the 49ers, and the Browns can also give Whitner the opportunity to come home: Whitner was born and raised in Cleveland and played his college football at Ohio State.

Whitner is the No. 28 player in our Free Agent Hot 100, but that doesn’t necessarily make him an upgrade for the Browns’ secondary: Ward is the No. 20 player in our Free Agent Hot 100. The Browns appear set to lose one good safety and gain another.

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60 Responses to “Donte Whitner expects to sign with the Browns today”
  1. jayniner says: Mar 11, 2014 1:48 PM

    Damn!!!!

  2. ranger764 says: Mar 11, 2014 1:49 PM

    Hopefully TJ Ward comes to Denver. We need a top notch safety.

  3. jetsfan67 says: Mar 11, 2014 1:49 PM

    Nice pick up Browns.

  4. logicalvoicesays says: Mar 11, 2014 1:49 PM

    You could of had RGIII but NOPE you traded for Weeden and Richardson! These other signings and players don’t matter without a QB. No QB = No HOPE!!! #TheFactoryofSadnessgoesonandonandon

  5. jerruhjones says: Mar 11, 2014 1:49 PM

    Welcome home Donte!

    Go Browns!!!

  6. tindeaux says: Mar 11, 2014 1:50 PM

    the browns are determined to build the best defense in the NFL.

    They just can’t score!

  7. olyniner says: Mar 11, 2014 1:50 PM

    Wake up Pierre Thomas and let him know the bad man plays for the Browns now.

  8. gohomeweeden says: Mar 11, 2014 1:50 PM

    Rather have whitner than ward. Rather have Byrd than either.

  9. youtubeingravenvids says: Mar 11, 2014 1:50 PM

    Not really an upgrade over TJ Ward but man, these Browns are tryin to get a SERIOUS secondary. I’m a Ravens fan but I really like what they’re doing.

  10. zerodime says: Mar 11, 2014 1:51 PM

    I’m only ok with this if Ward signs with someone else for at least 2 mil a year more than the Browns sign Whitner for.

    Go Browns!

  11. Denver Geldings - Super Bowl Castration... AGAIN!!!! says: Mar 11, 2014 1:51 PM

    So is he going to change his name to “Hitner” now? Since he wanted to last year, but decided against it, because of the money it would have cost him to change the name on all of the jerseys being sold to the public…

  12. bigbaldpapahawk says: Mar 11, 2014 1:52 PM

    Who’s got it better than….?

    Nevermind, Browns pay more.

  13. captainwisdom8888 says: Mar 11, 2014 1:52 PM

    career suicide

  14. codenamez says: Mar 11, 2014 1:52 PM

    I’d have rather kept TJ Ward, but I think once he didn’t get franchised he was out the door as soon as he could get there.

  15. Big Ant TV says: Mar 11, 2014 1:53 PM

    Stupid move cleveland ugh my browns
    we sacrifice a younger guy with upside for a pure hitter

  16. kaprajan says: Mar 11, 2014 1:53 PM

    Enjoy the countless, game changing, penalties Cleveland. T.J. Ward.. Trent Baalke on line 1.

  17. mcmeen0576 says: Mar 11, 2014 1:54 PM

    Bears fans everywhere just collectively hung their heads.

  18. andreboy1 says: Mar 11, 2014 1:55 PM

    On the eve of free agency Jim Harbaugh looks out his office window and slowly shakes his head

    For weeks now NFL free agents have been camping out in front of the Santa Clara practice facility in a desperate attempt to be signed by the historic franchise, turning the parking lot into a small tent city.

    Jim can’t wait for this day to be over as he has grown weary of the constant “Who’s Got It Better Than Us” chants coming from the free agents. Jim sees Aquib Talib cooking breakfast on a camp stove, Aquib has been wearing Harbaughs traditional black and khahki game day outfit for weeks straight in an attempt to gain favor. Jim admires Aquib’s dedication, but he will not be chosen as Jim despises mediocre talent.

    In a few hours Jim will march out and select one, maybe two, of the stoutest, bravest men to join his crusade. Those rejected bow their heads and sob uncontrollably, others stare blankly at the sky while trying to overcome the rejection of a lifetime. These rejects will soon disperse and join dead or dying franchises like the Raiders, Jags, Packers and Steelers…never to be heard from again.

  19. believeland2014 says: Mar 11, 2014 1:57 PM

    YES! BROWNS ARE TAKING IT ALL THIS YEAR

    DRAFT J. MANZIEL WITH THE FIRST PICK, TRADE FOR REVIS AND WE WILL BE AN ELITE TEAM FOR FUTURE YEARS!

    Gordon > your WR
    cameron > your TE

    U MAD?

  20. cincystew says: Mar 11, 2014 1:57 PM

    He was also supposed to be a Bengal last year. Same report came out then…

  21. goldrush36 says: Mar 11, 2014 1:59 PM

    So much for that “I really want to be here even if it means I take a smaller salary” Well good luck to ya anyway Donte. Fierce hitter but when he misses it’s goin to the house.

  22. si1m says: Mar 11, 2014 2:00 PM

    Considering how badly we abused Whitner in the Super Bowl, I’m loving this. #Ravens

  23. ghost26 says: Mar 11, 2014 2:01 PM

    Why??? He’s leaving the 2nd best team in football to go to a team that loses every year??? Whitner will regret it when SF wins a SB & I believe they will if Harbaugh stays.

    I’m VERY interested to see what the Niners are going to do in FA. The only starting DB they have under contract is Eric Reid. Then again they have 12 draft picks.

    Although I’m a Dolphin fan I’d love to see the Niners squash the Seahawks. The Seahawks fans are BEYOND annoying already.

  24. osiris33 says: Mar 11, 2014 2:01 PM

    49ers falling apart. The repercussions from “The Play” continue. Expect them to fall behind the Cardinals.

  25. chaznewc says: Mar 11, 2014 2:02 PM

    Come on home Donte. Strap on that helmet and blast some Steelers & Ravens for us.

  26. clebrowns216 says: Mar 11, 2014 2:02 PM

    Stupid… Why would we not re-sign TJ Ward?

    Not only is he a better player but he was a leader on our defense. Good thing we still have our #1 leader on defense… Oh nevermind

  27. jgedgar70 says: Mar 11, 2014 2:03 PM

    Does the contract include a clause that he drop the crap about the name change?

  28. bleedredandgold16 says: Mar 11, 2014 2:04 PM

    I’m sorry to see Whitner go. He’ll be missed in SF for sure. Good luck to him, and I hope he still lights people up.

  29. ajgreenhof says: Mar 11, 2014 2:05 PM

    Well you know it’s about the money.

  30. beezer240 says: Mar 11, 2014 2:05 PM

    TJ Ward is one of the most exciting players to watch play, but he is way to injury prone.

  31. bleedredandgold16 says: Mar 11, 2014 2:06 PM

    “49ers falling apart. The repercussions from “The Play” continue. Expect them to fall behind the Cardinals.”

    LOL. Free agency happens. Baalke and Harbaugh will figure something else out, and they’ll get through. Besides, the Cards are losing Dansby as well, so maybe they should be more concerned about that.

  32. ghost26 says: Mar 11, 2014 2:07 PM

    Ward & Whitner are very similar players. Not sure why Cleveland didn’t just re-sign Ward who is younger. If the Niners get Ward then the Browns will have gotten played…Again.

  33. nyninerfan says: Mar 11, 2014 2:11 PM

    Couldn’t cover someone with a blanket and will give the opponent at a minimum one 15 yard roughing penalty a game. See ya.

  34. kneelbeforesod says: Mar 11, 2014 2:17 PM

    Oakland East

  35. hammer7329 says: Mar 11, 2014 2:17 PM

    Whiffner is a selp promotoing overrated player who was fortunatwe playing around great defensive players. He’s a liability in coverage and someone who runs his mouth way too much.

  36. ballhawk75 says: Mar 11, 2014 2:18 PM

    He’s scared to play the Hawks 2or3 times a year.

  37. ninerfan94954 says: Mar 11, 2014 2:20 PM

    Sorry to see him go, he really improved his coverage skills last year and was always a stud against the run. Good luck, Donte!

  38. sonoco says: Mar 11, 2014 2:25 PM

    The 49ers were allegedly “falling apart” when they lost Goldson too.

  39. redandgoldhitman52 says: Mar 11, 2014 2:26 PM

    i have a feeling patrick willis will be ltraded in 2015 to clear cap space

  40. godofwine330 says: Mar 11, 2014 2:28 PM

    Woo-Hoo! Byrd would have been better because I’d love a safety that is a ball hawk, but yes, Whitner will be a big hit here. Literally.

  41. flash1283 says: Mar 11, 2014 2:29 PM

    Another good player wasting his talent with a sorry team!

  42. sfsugator says: Mar 11, 2014 2:29 PM

    And he is always getting burned by the pass, one trick pony

  43. stew48 says: Mar 11, 2014 2:35 PM

    Interesting to note the scared-talking 49er fans.

  44. outlawtrn1999 says: Mar 11, 2014 2:35 PM

    Instead of changing his name to Hitner he should change it to “NevergoingtowininClevelandner”

    Bazoopa

  45. coltzfan166 says: Mar 11, 2014 2:38 PM

    Gosh if this team lands Revis too, I would be scared of them. At least their defense.

  46. seaeagle707 says: Mar 11, 2014 2:46 PM

    The temptation is there, to say something to the Bay Area miscreants who’ve been ragging us for weeks about how we won’t be able to pay anybody, but I’ll digress. It straight up sucks to lose players the fans love, no matter the team.

    Condolences to the Red & Gold faithful.

    On the other hand, what’s with all of this interaction between SF and Cleveland, lately? I wasn’t aware that they even knew each other.

  47. pantherfan40 says: Mar 11, 2014 2:47 PM

    New legion of boom revis hayden and whitner

  48. billsfan1 says: Mar 11, 2014 2:50 PM

    I watched him in buffalo. Let me say this. He is not an improvement over Ward. He is best known for watching wr’s score as he is looking behind him for the ball. I won’t say he sucks but he’s not very good. He was hidden by sf ‘s other players. He will play hard but he won’t be worth what he is being paid..

    Guess Byrd is not coming to Cleveland

  49. siggtacular says: Mar 11, 2014 2:50 PM

    Brownies will continue to lose with this washed up guy

  50. ninetysixer says: Mar 11, 2014 2:52 PM

    if they pull off the Revis trade the Browns will have the best secondary in the NFL hands down

  51. jayniner says: Mar 11, 2014 3:00 PM

    Here’s to hoping the Niners are scrambling right now to try and keep him before FA starts in 1 hour.

    Jim, Trent, Jed…..you there?

  52. doctorrustbelt says: Mar 11, 2014 3:11 PM

    … and cheap Bengals owner mike brown doesn’t look for a REAL #2 wide receiver.

    Marvin Jones is a high character guy… but… he IS NOT a TOP NFL #2 wide receiver… he is #3 level (on a good wide receiving corps).

    Smart signing, Cleveland.

    Ugh!!!

  53. doctorrustbelt says: Mar 11, 2014 3:13 PM

    A little cloudy…. Marvin Jones is a good #3 level wide receiver on a team with a deep wide receiving corps).

    Meaning: In Denver/New Orleans/etc…. Marvin Jones would be a #3 wide receiver

  54. tvguy22 says: Mar 11, 2014 3:21 PM

    Good thing he kept the “W” on his last name.

    It’s going to be the only “W” he sees for a while.

  55. trollaikman8 says: Mar 11, 2014 3:23 PM

    Bad news for the physical well-being of all WR’s, RB’s and TE’s in that division.

  56. braceyourselffor12 says: Mar 11, 2014 3:25 PM

    As I’ve said before:

    Lets him walk. Like Dashon Goldson this dude lays the smack down on fools but is a total liability in coverage. We need bigger bodies in the secondary who are able to shut down the passing game.

    Good luck Donte.

  57. lbcoach34 says: Mar 11, 2014 4:02 PM

    you simply cant’ rate players effectively. Stats don’t lie but never tell the whole story…one system may benefit a player to thrive in the stat category – while another may lower his stats but be more effective on the field of play in coverage…that’s not to mention the players he’s surrounded by…offense and defense

  58. rayjay49er says: Mar 11, 2014 4:17 PM

    This sucks A#@ for the Niners!!! We lost Goldson last year and now we’re going to let another solid, hard hitting veteran slip away. Unless the Niners can bring in a high level, proven veteran, there will be a huge hole left in the secondary. Going with an all 1st or 2nd year secondary is going to make it seem like Christmas for teams with good passing offenses like Seattle. IDK what Harbaugh and Baalke are thinking on this one. I expect them to bring in a solid vet, like Revis (who is probably out of their price range) if they’re gonna let Whitner leave. Not happy at all with this move by the Niners.

  59. briank1ne says: Mar 11, 2014 4:25 PM

    Good luck donte….we will always remember “the hit” #faithful

  60. td40 says: Mar 11, 2014 4:27 PM

    it’s downright weird how some players get this reputation that simply defies reality. There are several comments here wondering why the Browns let go of TJ Ward and are happy with signing Donte Whitner. All I can get is that the people who are praising Ward and thinking it would be better to keep him just plain did not watch him play game in and game out. If they had, they’d understand that he has some kind of strange hype attached to him that his actual play doesn’t bear out. I can’t tell you how many times Ward was miles from the play, utterly out of position, arrived to the play after the corner had already done his job, or made a pathetic attempt at tackling with his alligator arms. I’m not saying Ward is sub part… Just that, if he’s above average, it’s only by a hair.

    Ward’s reputation was helped out by good performances in a small smattering of games and somehow the hype took over.

    Not a big loss.

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