There is still some hope that the San Francisco 49ers can re-sign strong safety Donte Whitner, but the Cleveland native is expected to sign with the Browns shortly after free agency begins. Thus, the 49ers have to look for replacements at strong safety to pair with second-year standout Eric Reid, and the Sacramento Bee’s Matt Barrows reports that Indianapolis Colts free safety Antoine Bethea is a potential option for the 49ers.
It was reported earlier today by the Chicago Tribune’s Brad Biggs that the 49ers could show interest in New York Giants safety Ryan Mundy, who also has interest from the Bears. But Mundy is solely an in-the-box player, and I don’t think he’s an ideal option for the 49ers, who would probably like to have someone better in coverage at SS.
Bethea looks like a perfect fit on paper for the 49ers, because he should be affordable and would be a nice veteran presence next to their young gun at free safety. Although he plays free safety for the Colts, Bethea is clearly a better fit as a strong safety, as he isn’t good enough in deep coverage anymore to be a full-time starting FS. But the fact that he currently plays FS shows that Bethea can provide some quality deep coverage for the strong safety position, and his playmaking skills and run defense are also assets that the 49ers could use.