A surprising addition to the free agency market is Donte Whitner, released by the Cleveland Browns and already a strong candidate to join the Washington Redskins, while the New York Giants, Minnesota Vikings and Oakland Raiders, all in need of improving the position, will be looking into the situation.
The 30-year old was on a four-year, $28 million deal with the Browns, heading into the third season with the team. But this offseason has been about clearing cap space and getting rid of expensive veterans. Cutting Whitner comes with some dead money, but it does give them $4 million more under the cap, not like the Browns need it. Whitner made a little bit over half of what the total value of the contract was, and is immediately on the top of the list when it comes to safety free agents right now.
He’ll probably have to settle in terms of salary now, due to make $6.2 million in base salary in 2016 ($8.5 million cap hit). The Giants (over $23 million), Raiders ($18.2 million), Vikings ($11.8 million) and Redskins ($13.7 million) all have cap space to sign him, and also a need in that area, sometimes with two players necessary to improve what they have back there.
But at this point of the offseason, teams are way of making big commitments. Those who wanted to spend big (Giants, Raiders) did it already, and now have their sights set on the draft. The free agents mostly roaming around now are those demanding too much money for their value or simply players that are borderline on the verge of finding themselves out of the league.
Whitner, a three-time Pro Bowler, who played for the Buffalo Bills and San Francisco 49ers before joining the Browns in 2014, doesn’t seem like someone who should stay without a team for long. He has missed only three games in the last six seasons and while he did have a bad year with 0 interceptions last season, one must factor in the Browns part of the equation, and just the happiness of being out of Cleveland can add a few points to a player’s scorecard.