Fooch's Update: Whitner did indeed find his new contract. He signed a 4-year, $28 million deal with the Cleveland Browns.
Earlier this morning, San Francisco 49ers safety Donte Whitner posted this picture to Instagram with the caption "Blessed!"
Maybe he just had a kid, maybe champagne just makes him feel blessed. It could be one of a million things, but I think we all have a hunch what it actually means. Thus far, we've heard a ton of rumors connecting Whitner with the Cleveland Browns. He's an Ohio native, and the Browns could use some help alongside Joe Haden in that secondary. And it sounds like a deal was already close.
Even without this Instagram picture, I think most of us had officially reached the point where we were working under the assumption that he was walking this year. We don't know how much the 49ers have tried to negotiate a deal, but I went into this offseason a little bit skeptical that a deal would get done. Whitner can still contribute quite a bit to a defense, but with the 49ers facing a variety of big contract extensions this year and next year, somebody was not going to get paid.
If Whitner walks, the team has C.J. Spillman and Craig Dahl to compete for time. They could add more competition in free agency, the more likely reality is that they draft a safety in May. They have serious secondary needs right now, but thankfully they've got the picks to add some impact players. There is still a lot of free agency (OK, ALL of free agency) still to come, so we'll see if they make any moves for veteran help.
For now, if the man who calls himself Hitner has found a new home, best of luck. And if he has signed a new deal with the 49ers, well, good for him. Either way, we should hear more on this as the 1 p.m. hour gets closer.