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Would Donte Whitner fit the Browns?

5/18/2011

I have been reluctant to discuss free agency during the NFL lockout for several reasons. For starters, we're not sure who will be restricted and unrestricted until there's a new collective bargaining agreement. Second, teams cannot and will not talk about players (I've tried). So everything is mere speculation.

But since the lockout appears to be going well into the summer, we're going to start making exceptions. The first exception is speculating whether pending free-agent safety Donte Whitner is a good fit for the Cleveland Browns.

After becoming the No. 8 overall pick of the Buffalo Bills in 2006, Whitner has completed the final year of his rookie contract and recorded a career-high 140 tackles in addition to one interception last season. He is a Cleveland native, which helps in pursuing Whitner, and the Browns certainly have cap room (if there is a cap).

Last year's starter, Abram Elam, is a pending free agent and had a so-so year with the Browns. He recorded 79 tackles and two interceptions. Whitner would certainly be an upgrade.

Cleveland spent the first two rounds of the draft addressing its front four by taking defensive tackle Phil Taylor and defensive end Jabaal Sheard. Perhaps Cleveland will look to spend its dollars in free agency on the secondary.

I think teaming Whitner, 25, with safety T.J. Ward and cornerback Joe Haden would make for a young and talented secondary for the Browns, who are trying to build for the long haul.

What are your thoughts on Whitner and Cleveland? Good idea or bad idea?