Donte Whitner will likely hit the free agent market believes 49ers safety Donte Whitner will likely hit the open market once free agency kicks off on March 11th.

Whitner signed a three-year, $11.4 million contract with the 49ers in 2011. The franchise tag for a safety is projected to be approximately $8 million. Whitner appears likely to hit the free-agent market, where he could compete with Cleveland’s T.J. Ward and Buffalo’s Jairus Byrd. Ward and Byrd are both candidates to be franchised by their respective teams.

It doesn’t make sense for the 49ers to tag Whitner who’s a good safety that struggles in coverage at times.