Whitner is a 10-year veteran who was a Top 10 pick by the Buffalo Bills in 2006 and has played for the San Francisco 49ers. He recently played the past two years with the Cleveland Browns before the Browns released him in the offseason. He has earned three Pro Bowl selections, 2012-2014 and has 856 career tackles in 146 regular season games.
Whitner is known as a hard-hitting safety and would be an excellent addition in run defense however he struggles against the pass.
This is an interesting move for the team to be looking at a safety this close to the season and could raise some questions about the position. Right now, the team is expected to start Tre Boston as free safety and Kurt Coleman as strong safety.
However, the addition of Whitner could allow Coleman to move back to free safety, where he played last year and excelled with a team-leading seven interceptions.
Another possibility for the Panthers interest, and more likely, could be due to the fact that backup safety Dean Marlowe has been struggling with a hamstring injury and may not be ready for the start of the season.
In June, I identified Whitner as a potential free agent target and at the time wrote about the safety:
The Panthers right now are expected to start the season with either Tre Boston or Dean Marlowe opposite Kurt Coleman at the safety position to replace Roman Harper. If the Panthers want a veteran safety, a player like Donte Whitner wouldn't be a bad option for this defense.
Whitner has never been known for his pass coverage but rather his strength lies in playing the run and being a hard hitter. He was released by the Cleveland Browns earlier this offseason after 187 tackles the past two years.
At 30 years of age, Whitner still has plenty left in the tank and at the very least provide veteran depth for the position.