Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Why the San Francisco 49ers Should Re-Sign Donte Whitner

In the second installment of our “debate” series we take a look at the San Francisco 49ers‘ decision on safety Donte Whitner. A later article will argue that the 49ers should let him walk away. See here for the debate on Anquan Boldin.

The San Francisco 49ers need to re-sign Donte Whitner. Just ask Pro-Bowl Rookie Eric Reid, who claims he could not have been nearly as good if it were not for the mentorship given by Whitner. Furthermore, how many more safeties are out there that can terrorize an offense like Whitner can? Not many.

“Hitner” as he wishes to change his last name to, can lay hits on receivers with the best of them. The best part is, these hits are almost always legal and rarely with or to the head or neck area–though the ref’s whistle still sometimes blows. If the officials can get better at calling this, those “penalties” should go away.

Whitner also played fairly well in coverage. He is a reliable defender who wraps up the ball carrier well–if he doesn’t knock him over with his initial contact. The 49ers would be hard-pressed to find a replacement good enough to fill his shoes from day 1. There are not many players out there who can step in the way Reid did, and without Whitner, Reid likely would not have done that.

Whitner has also demonstrated a strong leadership ability. He is greatly respected in the locker room and does a lot for the team culture and dynamic. He also will only turn 29 in July, which, though not by any means young, is not that old for a safety. He should have a good three years left in him, and with the 49ers’ championship window about as wide open as it can get for the next couple of years, they would be wise not to mess with a good thing.

Yes, Whitner may be pricey, but he is worth it. He also has expressed a desire to return and may, along with, say, Colin Kaepernick, take slightly less than he could get elsewhere. Now, this could be wishful thinking, but if Whitner does agree to a “hometown discount” then the 49ers must keep him. Even if he does not, the 49ers should keep him on the squad, as he has proven his worth in (Crimson and) Gold.

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Tags: 49ers 49ers 2013 49ers 2014 Donte Whitner Free Agency San Francisco 49ers

  • loverpoint

    After the 2012 Super Bowl Donte Whitner said to the press that he felt he did not have a very good season and was going to Bounce back in 2013 ( the year before his contract expires ) But Whitner did not have that great of a season.

    The NFL is changing and they do not want big hitters like Whitner, or Dashon Goldson. Goldson met his demise with his greed and self importance. Whitner is now a liability because of his mouth. When Whitner said he was going to change his name to “HITNER”, it was a slap in Roger Goodells face and the face of the referees for calling some very bogus penalties. The question is; How much longer will the Goodell and the Refs hold this against Whitner ?

    Sure Eric Reid has said that Whitner taught him a lot. He has only been in the NFL for 1 season, and I’m sure Whitner did teach him some good things. But what the 49ers need are DB’s that are good in coverage, and that is Whitners weakness. The 49ers made a big mistake in taking Craig Dahl over Charles Woodson. Not sure if Woodson will play in 2014 but he would have been a great mentor to Reid and the other DB’s.

    I only bring back Whitner as a last resort after I have tested the FA market.

    I’m sure the local media would like to see Whitner back, I think that is why they gave him an award for the most media friendly. Media friendly is not what wins championships. Having a cocky secondary that backs up their cockiness with their play on the field.

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