The San Francisco 49ers may have lost overpriced Donte Whitner to the Cleveland Browns, but they were able to take from another team out east. The Indianapolis Colts’ former safety Antoine Bethea has agreed to a 4-year deal with the 49ers for a little over a million less per year than Whitner received from the Browns. According to ESPN.com, Bethea has had over 100 tackles in each of the past four seasons, with a sack and two picks in 2013 for the Colts. Nevertheless, he has not been regarded very highly by pundits and is considered a much better run defender than pass coverage safety.
Bethea may not be considered as good as Donte Whitner by the “experts,” but he does not get the number of penalties that Witner receives either. Whitner may hit cleanly on a regular basis, but he is often called for personal fouls or hits to the head when, in fact, he just hits hard. Even if these penalties should not be called, they were. These penalties hurt the 49ers more than once in the past regular season and post season. Bethea should allow the 49ers to move on from Whitner’s incredible hitting–and the bad calls that often come with it.
Bethea may not be an upgrade in the sense of being a better player, but he should bring less penalties. He is a goo pick-up an at lease short term replacement for Whitner.