Donte Whitner 49ers Gold Jacket

Donte Whitner is widely thought of as one of the top unrestricted free agent safeties on the market. With the NFL’s salary cap set to exceed $132 million in 2014, something Whitner has noted by retweeting Pro Football Talk’s story on the matter, this could be a lucrative offseason for Mr. Hitner.

Chris Wesseling and Gregg Rosenthal just ranked the top 101 available free agents, and Whitner was slotted in the “TIER 3: Starters with questions” category, at No. 48 overall. Anyone who knows Whitner won’t be surprised to find out that he voiced his displeasure with these rankings.

Here’s the description for Whitner, who sits one spot ahead of Darren McFadden:

48) Donte Whitner, S, San Francisco 49ers: Will all of those bone-jarring hits catch up to Whitner as he enters his ninth season?

Here’s how the other safeties fared (PFF score in parentheses):

  • 4. Jarius Byrd (9.9)
  • 14. T.J. Ward (14.5)
  • 38. Malcolm Jenkins (-6.0)
  • 42. Louis Delmas (2.0)
  • 53. Antoine Bethea (-2.9)
  • 69. Chris Clemons (4.1)
  • 94. Mike Mitchell (0.5)
  • 95. Kendrick Lewis (-2.8)

For what it’s worth, PFF gave Whitner an overall score of 11.5 for 2013. Free agency is about more than metrics compiled by one site, of course. Factors such as age, consistency and how a player fits in with a certain team’s scheme and/or locker room are all considered. Professional athletes in all sports probably get steamed whenever these free agency lists come out, because so much money is at stake. But these days, with Twitter allowing players to send messages directly to the public without any sort of filter, outspoken and passionate players like Whitner can let writers know exactly how they feel.

The other two 49ers on this list, Anquan Boldin and Tarell Brown, are both on Twitter. We probably won’t see either player make their displeasure known quite like Whitner did today, but given their respective spots in the rankings they probably aren’t all that happy with Wesseling and Rosenthal either.

44) Anquan Boldin, WR, San Francisco 49ers: Similar to Reggie Wayne two offseasons ago, Boldin likely will have to settle for a three-year deal worth $5 to 6 million per.

59) Tarell Brown, CB, San Francisco 49ers: Brown is probably no better than an average NFL starter. That’s worth plenty.

Update: Brown did have something to say: