San Francisco 49ers sign S Antoine Bethea

The 49ers needed another safety after losing Donte Whitner to the Browns this off-season. Whitner is a better football player than Bethea, but Bethea came cheaper in terms of max base salary. Whitner got 28 million over 4 years, while Bethea gets 21 million over 4 years. Bethea is actually a boring player to write about. He hasn’t missed a game since 2007 and he hasn’t so much as been on an injury report at all over the past 4 seasons. He graded out above average on Pro Football Focus from 2008-2011, but he was never a top level safety, maxing out as Pro Football Focus’ 16th ranked safety in 2010.

He’s graded out below average in both 2012 and 2013 now that he’s getting older and he’s going into his age 30 season so he probably won’t be getting much better any time soon. He’s not really worth a 5.25 million dollar annual salary as he goes into his 30s, though he probably has two more seasons of being an average starter. The good part of this deal is that only 6.25 million is guaranteed so the 49ers can cut Bethea at any point and avoid base salaries of 3.5 million, 5 million, and 5.75 million in 2011, 2012, and 2013 respectively. It can essentially be a 1-year, 6.25 million dollar deal with 3 year options. It’s still an overpay though.

Grade: C+




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