Cleveland Browns: 20 Worst free agents signings in franchise history
Cleveland Browns worst free agents signings No. 14: Donte Whitner, Safety
In 2014, the Cleveland Browns were declared one of the big winners in free agency when they signed former Buffalo Bills and San Francisco 49ers safety Donte Whitner. And the excitement over this signing was for good reason.
Whitner was the eighth overall pick in the 2006 NFL Draft out of Ohio State and was a star for the Bills. He had 106 tackles as a rookie and in five seasons in Western New York, he racked up 453 tackles, and five interceptions.
San Francisco then came calling, signing him to a three-year deal worth $11.75 million in 2011. In those three seasons, he had 217 tackles, five forced fumbles, and five interceptions. That’s when the Browns came in and gave the 29-year-old strong safety a contract worth $28 million over the course of four seasons.
Whitner played just half of that contract out. His numbers weren’t terrible as he had 187 tackles and a pick but he wasn’t the impact player they had hoped. He was released ahead of the 2016 season and still counted nearly $4 million against the cap that year.
The Washington Football Team signed him in 2016 and Whitner played in just 11 more games before seeing his career come to an end.