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Donte Whitner expects to sign with the Browns today

Whitner

Donte Whitner could be a member of the Cleveland Browns within a few hours.

Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports that Whitner expects to sign with the Browns as soon as free agency officially opens at 4 p.m. Eastern. In Cleveland, Whitner would fill a void in the secondary left by safety T.J. Ward, who is expected to leave in free agency.

The 28-year-old Whitner started all 16 games for the 49ers last season, and the 49ers are interested in re-signing him. But the Browns have more cap space than the 49ers, and the Browns can also give Whitner the opportunity to come home: Whitner was born and raised in Cleveland and played his college football at Ohio State.

Whitner is the No. 28 player in our Free Agent Hot 100, but that doesn’t necessarily make him an upgrade for the Browns’ secondary: Ward is the No. 20 player in our Free Agent Hot 100. The Browns appear set to lose one good safety and gain another.