Report: 49ers and Bethea agree to 4-year, $23 million deal

ESPN has reported that the 49ers and free agent safety Antoine Bethea have agreed to a four-year, $23 million contract.

Bethea replaces Donte Whitner, who signed a four-year, $28 million contract with the Browns today, according to ESPN.

Do you like the Bethea signing? Why or why not? Would you have preferred the 49ers to keep Whitner?

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    1. C4C

      I have the same reaction about it, although I was very pleased with what Donte gave us in his time as a niner

          1. It looks like an upgrade, to me. Whitner is a true SS, Bethea has the ability to play more of a combo safety role, which suits Fangio and makes the 49ers defense harder to read.

            Don’t underestimate the negative effect Whitner’s PF penalties had on the 49ers. I realize that most, if not all, were incorrrect calls, but after two, maybe three, I feel it was incumbent on Whitner to adjust his play. Something he was unwilling, or unable, to do.

            As was pointed out above, by Jack, Bethea didn’t draw a flag last year. That will be a welcome change.

  1. I like the deal because it reduces the cap hit while upgrading the coverage. It also reduces the amount of personal fouls called, mainly due to Hitners’ reputation…

  2. Bethea had two ‘down’ years in a row in 2012 and 2013. But he’s still a savvy DB with decent range in coverage, and is a very reliable tackler. Experience and capability to play as both a SS and FS, giving the 49ers that interchangeable component they are after. I think he will suit the 49ers SS position very well.

  3. LIke-for-like. Although the 49ers come out on top in the long run due to the lack of bogus PF calls on Hitner. At least Donte will be able to get out of the cold during the post-season.

  4. What the team will miss in a huge way is Whitners football intelligence calling defenses adjusting coverages etc. Does anyone know about Bethea’s ability in that area. I would rather not have reid pick up that responsibilty yet

    1. I’m pretty sure Bethea played the same role for the Colts. He was also a team captain for quite a few seasons.

    2. From a Cleveland beat reporter:
      Tom James ‏@TribStarTJames
      Bethea was my favorite player to cover during his time with the Colts. Class all the way. A coach on the field. Always available to talk.

    3. old coach:

      It doesn’t sound like that will be a problem. It looks like Bethea played a similar role in Indy the past few years. Also, he is definitely a gold star kind of player.

      My concern is that he has had two down years in a row and gives all the signs of being a player on the decline.

  5. Won’t make too many judgements til the guaranteed money comes out but I don’t like getting older in the secondary. Bethea could be a good fit scheme wise though.

    1. After hearing a little bit about Bethea it sounds like a good signing and if it ends up being for 23 mill could be a very good signing

  6. I really like this move. Basically by letting Whitner go and signing Antoine Bethea, the 49ers are saying that they wanted to upgrade their safeties ability to cover. Like Rogers, Whitner got beat in big moments of big games.
    Where I do feel badly for Donte is that he frequently got penalized for legal hits. Hitting folks was his strength.

  7. I am officially reversing my opinion on the Bethea signing. I liked the idea when we were initially talking $2.5-$3 mil a year. But for this kind of money, we would’ve been much better off going for a bigger talent like Byrd. Bethea to me is more of a one-year starter while we groom someone else behind him.

    1. seems a bit pricey, but safeties were expensive – even Mike Mitchell got $5MM/yr for 5 years. Bethea looked good when the Colts beat us up last year. Sad to see Whitner go, but we saved a few dollars and got an adequate replacement. Only question is what is the cap impact in back end of the deal – he’ll be 33 and likely cut or renegotiated in the final year.

  8. So in two consecutive years, the niner’s get better coverage safeties, less money and less penalties. Good deal.

        1. He might be a Harbaugh wish.
          But the trade is a Baalke move.

          6th rounder is not expensive at all.
          Even more considering we hade 12picks.

      1. They aren’t going to cut him, his money is guaranteed. 2 mill for a backup is pretty cheap and if Harbaugh can get through to the kid it’s a bonus.

      2. “Gabbert has one-year remaining on his original contract. The sides are expected to rework his contract from his scheduled $2.011 million in salary.”-MM

    1. Gabbert is insurance. They are still going to draft their future backup in the draft. Unless Harbaugh can work miracles with Gabbert.

  9. NFLN speculates, that due to the 49ers signing Gabbert ..
    the Lambs will most certainly pick a QB @ #2 ..

    (especially should the Texans go with Clowney @ #1 )

    1. Foolish move especially with the potential to add Sammy Watkins. Unless of course they’d rather try to get Mike Evans.

  10. Donte Whitner becomes Mr. Hitner.
    Does that mean that he would then have to change
    the name on his college diploma?
    Oh, no need….?
    You say that he has no college degree….

    Why are we not surprised?
    His ‘crew’ will doubtless help him burn through that
    28 million.
    By the time he reaches age 30,
    will he will be insolvent like so many former NFL greats?

    1. It’s not that I didn’t believe you when you said “I’ll be back”, it’s just that I was hoping you wouldn’t be…..

      1. The biggest question is how could they do this when they are supposed to draft the chosen one…David “Epic” Fales?

  11. in 2 successive years we have lost safeties who like to deliver big hits in the backfield – i think we’ll miss that toughness, but as always i have to defer to the pros who got us here – Baalke, Harbaugh, Fangio, etc. Am going to guess we use a 3rd rd pick to bring in some depth/competition here.

    1. Won’t miss the penalties though. Whitners hits, whether legal or not, he always got penalized on the field. We couldn’t afford another year of that. Too costly on the field.

      1. Jordan,

        It doesn’t happen often, but I agree with you on this one. Whitner couldn’t, or wouldn’t, adapt his style.

        Also, his lapses in coverage were often critical.

    2. I feel that, but our toughness on the back end just went out the door. Seattle is now a tougher secondary than we are. I wonder if Bethea will go head up with lynch, like whitner did. I don’t know if this was a bad move but im just hoping for the best.

  12. Great signing and a great complement to Eric Reid. It also speaks volumes about the quality of the safeties in this year’s draft.

  13. Bill Polian graded Bethea as a A and Whitner as a B-. If this is right it would seem that we got a better player for cheaper.

    1. Polian is out of his mind if he thinks Bethea is still an A. He must be thinking of 2011. I’m not saying Bethea’s a turd. But he is a one-year stopgap.

      1. Why the heck are we re-signing E. Wright?We went with P. cox in the playoffs instead of him. We showed no confidence in E.Wright the player last year. What is different now?

  14. I don’t know the guy so I have had a short lesson reading down to my spot here. I like the fact of no penalties. He doesn’t seem very young and they are giving him top dollar and 4 years. I don’t know if I care for that, especially when I see the decline word. I do like Safties than play corner, so I just hope they see a great find and have taken care of a big problem. They sure acted fast, didn’t they?

  15. With Bethea the 49ers have more flexibility to maneuver for a receiver, corner or BPA in the draft.

    The puzzling part… it sounds like Bethea’s contract price isn’t far from Whitner’s new deal, and Bethea is a year older. I’ll feel better if contract details show Bethea has lower guaranteed money and a few de-escalator clauses.

    1. Grant or anyone… At first the contracts sounded close. Now its sounding like Bethea’s contract is far more cap friendly then Whitner’s new deal.

      Can you provide a side to side breakdown of Bethea’s and Whitners guaranteed pay, signing bonuses and cap hits?

      I’m starting to feel much better about this deal.

          1. I just looked at the deals that TJ Ward and Whitner signed and Bethea is much more cap friendly in the first two years and the Niners can release him after one year before April 1 2015 and assuming he isn’t injured with 3.75 mill in dead money. After 2015 the dead money is 2.5 mill. It’s a really good deal.

              1. I hope so, but everything I read is that his contract is fully guaranteed. What I hope is that the trade is contingent on working out a new deal.

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