Monday, February 21, 2011
Donte Whitner monitoring job speculation
Donte Whitner seems intrigued by speculation the Buffalo Bills might be interested in newly unattached safeties Bob Sanders and O.J. Atogwe.
Whitner has been retweeting links to stories that wonder if the Bills would chase either free agent as a replacement for him. Whitner's contract is about to expire, and he hasn't played up to his draft position. The Bills used the eighth overall pick on him in 2006.
Whitner, one of the NFL's more media-aware players, has retweeted five links so far Monday, including a BuffaloRumblings.com poll that asks fans to choose their ideal starting strong safety: Atogwe, Sanders, Whinter or George Wilson, also a free-agent-to-be.
Another story Whitner linked was from National Football Post writer Matt Bowen, a seven-year NFL safety whose last year was spent in Buffalo when Whitner was a rookie.
Bowen named Buffalo the team that should most hotly pursue Sanders.
There is some interest on the part of the Bills. Buffalo has a player in safety Jarius Byrd who will go after the football, but they need another impact player at the position. Donte Whitner wasn't the play maker Buffalo envisioned when they made him a first round pick, and with his contract up, the Bills could look at Sanders to possibly slide into the secondary in 2011. The question for defensive coordinator George Edwards would be where to play him: at free or strong.
Buffalo's interest level, of course, will be commensurate with Sanders' -- or Atogwe's or anybody else's -- price tag. Sanders was a first-team All-Pro for the Indianapolis Colts in 2005 and 2007, but he has played only nine games the past three years.
Buffalo already has taken a gamble on outside linebacker Shawne Merriman with a contract predicated on whether he returns from the Achilles injury that ended his season. If the Bills were to roll the dice with Sanders, then they still should re-sign Wilson or another reliable veteran who can be trusted to play long stretches.