Fooch's update: I do love the craziness of free agency. We have two fun tweets:
Based on a source close to Donte Whitner, He is likely headed to the #Browns when the signing period begins.— Dustin Fox (@DustinFox37) March 10, 2014
Six different sources now linking three different safeties to #Browns. Something's got to give.— Tony Grossi (@TonyGrossi) March 10, 2014
So, word is Whitner to Browns, until another source says something else. Good times.
The free agency negotiation period is underway, which means rumors are flying left and right. It should surprise nobody that one player firmly entrenched in the rumor mill is San Francisco 49ers strong safety Donte Whitner. Eric Branch is reporting is reporting "a league source" told the Chronicle that the Chicago Bears, Cleveland Browns and New York Jets "expressed the most interest" in Whitner.
It is not surprising that teams would be interested in Whitner. He is a very solid safety who could provide a strong veteran presence on the back end of a team's secondary. I think his value is best for a team with a relatively young secondary, or defense as a whole that is looking for someone to take a leadership role. That could potentially fit the 49ers secondary this coming season if they part ways with Carlos Rogers. Branch said the 49ers are still pushing for something with Whitner, but they see a competitive marketplace for his services.
None of this surprises, but we also don't know for certain how much truth there is to most rumors. We've had plenty of conversations about the importance of anonymous sources, but we still have to take them with a grain of salt. I think former Packers personnel man (and former agent) Andrew Brandt put it best:
Also, NFL agents have another name this time of year, esp. when there are reports of interest in their client: "League source."— Andrew Brandt (@adbrandt) March 9, 2014
And even Whitner is ready to have some fun with this:
Don't believe the rumors. Or should you? Hmmmm— DonteHitner (@DonteWhitner) March 9, 2014
The new league year opens on Tuesday at 1 p.m. PT. I don't know if Whitner will sign on the dotted line right away, but that would certainly prove these rumors true. It's a whole lot of mind games in the mean time. Oh to be a fly on the wall in the office of Donte Whitner's agent. He could be on the phone with numerous teams, or even making some calls out to reporters. Who knows!