2014 Free Agency: Donte Whitner the best safety option for 49ers?

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

There's some good free agent safeties out there, but Donte Whitner is still the best fit at strong safety for the 49ers.

I expected big things out of rookie safety Eric Reid, and other than a troubling tendency to tackle others and hurt himself in the process, I got essentially what I expected. I was pleased with his selection in the first round, and I knew he'd be an immediate starter and impact player. He's got a lot of growing to do, but I much prefer him to Dashon Goldson already.

Similarly, I've been very impressed with the work that Donte Whitner has been able to put in. Whitner had a great first season in San Francisco, a middling second season and I believe his 2013 was relatively solid. I think he improved a lot of aspects regarding his coverage ability, with his only big negative being the fact that he apparently moves too fast for NFL referees to see him clearly.

Slow down, man.

But aside from that, Whitner has been great. Problem is, he's set to hit the open market and should be a desirable option for many teams out there. The market is going to be solid for safeties this free agency period, but Whitner fits the bill for a lot of potential teams. There are multiple teams out there looking for a veteran safety for two-three seasons while they groom a potential young replacement.

And that's exactly how I think the 49ers would want to use him, too. I think San Francisco wants to look into the strong safety of the future, but I don't like the thought of putting a rookie back there with Reid, the second-year pro. In other words, I think Whitner's value is up there.

Anyway, here's a list of pending free agent safeties:

Yeremiah Bell, Arizona Cardinals
James Ihedigbo, Baltimore Ravens
Jeromy Miles, Baltimore Ravens
Jairus Byrd, Buffalo Bills
Jim Leonhard, Buffalo Bills
Quintin Mikell, Carolina Panthers
Mike Mitchell, Carolina Panthers
Craig Steltz, Chicago Bears
Major Wright, Chicago Bears
Chris Crocker, Cincinnati Bengals
Taylor Mays, Cincinnati Bengals
T.J. Ward, Cleveland Brownss
Danny McCray, Dallas Cowboys
Mike Adams, Denver Broncos
Michael Huff, Denver Broncos
John Wendling, Detroit Lions
Louis Delmas, Detroit Lions
Antoine Bethea, Indianapolis Colts
Sergio Brown, Indianapolis Colts
Husain Abdullah, Kansas City Chiefs
Quintin Demps, Kansas City Chiefs
Kendrick Lewis, Kansas City Chiefs
Malcolm Jenkins, New Orleans Saints
Roman Harper, New Orleans Saints
Stevie Brown, New York Giants
Ryan Mundy, New York Giants
Ed Reed, New York Jets
Usama Young, Oakland Raiders
Charles Woodson, Oakland Raiders
Nate Allen, Philadelphia Eagles
Colt Anderson, Philadelphia Eagles
Kurt Coleman, Philadelphia Eagles
Ryan Clark, Pittsburgh Steelers
Darrell Stuckey, San Diego Chargers
Chris Clemons, Seattle Sahawks
Chris Maragos, Seattle Seahawks
Donte Whitner, San Francisco 49ers
Matt Giordano, St. Louis Rams
Darian Stewart, St. Louis Rams
Bernard Pollard, Tennessee Titans
Reed Doughty, Washington Redskins
Jose Gumbs, Washington Redskins
Brandon Meriweather, Washington Redskins

Are there any guys on that list that stand out to you guys in particular? There's obviously some intrigue there, but I honestly believe Whitner is the best option. What say you?

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