The 2016 regular season is only a few weeks away, and NFL teams in need of last-minute additions to their secondary could start looking at free-agent safety Donte Whitner.
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Whitner to Work Out with Panthers on Friday
Thursday, Aug. 25
NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported the Carolina Panthers are bringing Whitner in for a workout.
Whitner is coming off a disappointing 2015 season. A Pro Bowler for three straight years between 2012 and 2014, he finished last year with 81 combined tackles, 1.5 sacks and zero interceptions. Pro Football Focus graded him as the 32nd-best safety (78.5) in the league.
It wasn't a major surprise when the Cleveland Browns released Whitner in the offseason, but the timing was inconvenient for the 31-year-old. Most teams had already addressed the safety position by the time he hit the open market.
NFL.com's Chris Trapasso isn't sold on Whitner signing with the Panthers but thinks Carolina's strong supporting cast could cover his flaws:
At the least, Whitner could provide veteran leadership alongside Kurt Coleman. With Roman Harper gone, the Panthers are relying on two relatively inexperienced safeties, Tre Boston and Dean Marlowe, heading into the upcoming season.
At this stage of the preseason, Whitner is likely the biggest upgrade Carolina will find on the free-agent market.