Off-Season Continues as the Browns Release Donte Whitner
The Browns release Donte Whitner on Saturday in a move that did not sit well with the veteran. Whitner becomes the latest veteran and seventh starter to leave the Browns since the 2015 season ended.
Browns executive vice president of football operations, Sashi Brown, released a statement after the Browns release Donte Whitner, per the team’s official website:
“It is important for us to thank Donte for all of his contributions to the Cleveland Browns over the last two seasons. His passion for this city and dedication to his craft was contagious. These are difficult decisions to make, but we felt it was the best decision for the Browns at this time. We wish him the best as he continues his career.”
Seems personal to release him after the bulk of free agent dollars have been spent. His 2015 season was far from “solid,” but he was a team and city guy so it does suck that it happened this late in the free agency period.
Whitner was set to make $6.2 million in 2016 and matching that may be tough. He should find interest on the open market after a solid season in 2015, though, and joins Reggie Nelson as available veteran options a month into free agency. The Browns also released quarterback Johnny Manziel and receiver Dwayne Bowe this off-season.
Whitner spent the last two seasons with the Browns and made one Pro Bowl after signing as a free agent prior to the 2014 season. In two seasons, he had 187 tackles, one interception and nine passes defended.
It appears as though Whitner was a cap casualty and there should be at least one team that can use a three-time Pro Bowl safety with 11 interceptions, 10 forced fumbles and 58 pass breakups in his career
Where Do The Browns Go From Here ?
The Browns save nearly $4 million under the cap, but take on $4.5 million in dead money as a result of the move. Now that the Browns release Donte Whitner, not to mention Tashaun Gipson gone as well, the Browns will have different starters at both safety spots in 2016.
They wasted three 1st round picks on QBs who were terrible (Quinn, Weeden, Johnny Manziel) which could have been used for productive players. They lost a lot of talent in free agency and it sure seems like they are planning on having the #1 pick next year (and every year thereafter).
The Browns must replace both starting safeties from last season, as well as the team’s two leading tacklers. Dansby led the Browns with 108 tackles; Whitner was second with 81. Dansby, 34, signed with the Bengals; Whitner, 30, becomes a free agent. With all this happening, it looks like the Browns are in total reboot mode.. Again.