Nov 24, 2013; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Indianapolis Colts safety Antoine Bethea (41) against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. The Cardinals defeated the Colts 40-11. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

NFL Free Agent Rumors: 49ers to target Antoine Bethea?

The San Francisco 49ers will need to replace safety Donte Whitner who is expected to sign with the Cleveland Browns in the coming hours.

One name that has reportedly intrigued the San Francisco front office is that of Antoine Bethea, this according to Matt Barrows.

Hearing Antoine Bethea is another possibility at safety for #49ers.

Whitner was known for his hard-hitting mentality and it’s going to be difficult for San Francisco to find a replacement who’ll provide such a punch. Of course, the 49ers also have Eric Reid in their secondary who is emerging as quite the force, so the need for an intimidating force might not be as apparent if Reid wasn’t around.

Bethea is a better coverage safety that Whitner, especially on deep balls as the former 49ers often found himself burned on passes down field. He’s also a better tackler, something Whitner struggled with.

San Francisco could certainly do worse than a smart veteran who, while maybe not as physically gifted as Whitner, plays a smarter game and has no injury history.

Tags: Antoine Bethea NFL Free Agency San Francisco 49ers

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