Bethea agrees to terms with 49ers to replace Whitner

Bethea agrees to terms with 49ers to replace Whitner
March 11, 2014, 1:15 pm
Share This Post

Antoine Bethea has 14 interceptions and 3.5 sacks over eight seasons with the Colts. (USATSI)

Programming note: NFL free agency begins today at 1 p.m. Watch SportsNet Central nightly at 6 and 10:30 p.m. for all the latest football news.

The 49ers lost a safety and reached an agreement with his replacement in the opening moments of the free-agent signing period.

Former Indianapolis Colts safety Antoine Bethea confirmed Tuesday afternoon that he will be joining the 49ers as a replacement for Donte Whitner, who reached a reported four-year, $28 million contract with the Cleveland Browns.

Bethea's deal is expected to be four years, $23 million, ESPN reported.

Bethea, who turns 30 in July, has started every game the past six seasons of his eight-year career for the Colts. The 5-foot-11, 206-pounder has recorded 14 interceptions in his career. He was twice named to the AFC Pro Bowl team -- after the 2007 and 2009 seasons.

With Whitner's departure, Bethea is expected to start at strong safety alongside Eric Reid, who was a starter last season as a rookie. Craig Dahl and C.J. Spillman are the only other safeties with NFL experience on the 49ers' roster.

Bethea took to Twitter to announce the transaction on Tuesday: