Quality veteran free safeties rarely last long on free agency market and the Los Angeles Rams are hoping that safety Donte Whitner cuts his time on the market short to sign with Los Angeles. The Rams brought Whitner in for a visit about ten days ago. While Whitner has yet to sign with any team, the move could be seen by some as a way to replace the leadership and run-stuffing ability of James Laurinaitis.
At this point in his NFL career, Whitner is probably better suited to play closer to the line of scrimmage than to aid in the secondary. It's not to say that Whitner cannot help the secondary, he most certainly can, it's just that he's better suited to play closer to the line of scrimmage ten years into his NFL career. The move also makes sense for the Rams, who could use some help stopping the run now that ILB James Laurinaitis is no longer with the team.
Whitner was originally drafted by the Buffalo Bills with the 8th overall pick in the 2006 NFL Draft. He played with the team until 2010 and then decided it was time to test the free agent market. Whitner then pulled a social media switcheroo by signing with San Francisco after announcing to the Twittersphere that he would be signing with the Bengals. His time in San Francisco would eventually lead him to Cleveland on a deal worth around $30 million dollars, but like everyone's career in Cleveland, Whitner dropped off quite a bit and was eventually cut by the Browns in April.
If the Rams can convince Whitner to sign, it would fill a significant leadership and veteran void in the heart of the defensive secondary. Whitner has all the tools to be a success in Los Angeles and the Rams' physical defense would welcome a player of his caliber. Right now, however, it's a matter of waiting on Whitner to decide which move is right for him.