Free agent safety Donte Whitner is telling folks he’s going to be a member of the Los Angeles Rams. But he’s the only one saying it...
Last night, a fan reached out to him on Twitter about whether or not he’d be signing with the team. Have a look.
@stevensutton0 soon— DonteHitner (@DonteWhitner) May 4, 2016
For the last three weeks, "Hitner" has simply, and randomly, been tweeting out the word "patience" using the high five (or prayer hands, for some) emoji, or "310," which is the area code in Los Angeles. Fans were left to speculate, but it appeared he was hinting at a new landing spot in the NFL.
A week ago, we covered how Whitner had just followed seven Rams’ players on Twitter, and what that meant for his potential to join the team. It appears now he’s confirming that he'll join his new twitter follows on the football field in 2016.
It’s somewhat trivial as to why it hasn’t already happened, or that no one else is reporting it. Initially, one could’ve believed his signing was being kept under wraps in an effort to not tip their hand about their draft priorities. But that waved bye bye when the Rams traded up to land the No. 1 overall spot.
So at this point, you'd have to believe it’s either a) the price tag he’s seeking (as ESPN’s Nick Wagoner states here), or b) the length of contract he’s hoping to get. Hitner, who will be 31 years old when the season kicks off, could be hoping for a longer deal than the Rams are looking to give him.
We’ll continue to monitor the situation, as well as his potential fit with the team. Throughout his career, Whitner has primarily served the role of a hard-hitting strong safety; which doesn't make him a logical replacement for former free safety Rodney McLeod. It could be that they’re looking to add some veteran leadership to a young secondary that just lost a pair of key starters, and are uncertain how inexperienced corners/safeties might fair in the early stages of the season. It could simply be a move to add depth.
Or maybe Gregg Williams, who’s getting great production out of Mark Barron, truly believes a team can never have too many box safeties. We’ll know for sure if, and when, the Rams and Whitner finalize a deal.