What's buzzing:

Browns plug holes with Whitner, Dansby

AP - Sports
Browns plug holes with Whitner, Dansby
.

View photo

San Francisco 49ers' Donte Whitner works before the NFL football NFC Championship game against the Seattle Seahawks Sunday, Jan. 19, 2014, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

CLEVELAND (AP) -- With wads of money to spend, the Cleveland Browns didn't waste any time shoving millions into two defensive holes they created this winter.

During the furious first few hours of free agency Tuesday, the team agreed to terms with strong safety Donte Whitner, a Cleveland native who can't wait to play in his hometown.

''I must now embark on my intended journey and become a Cleveland Brown,'' Whitner wrote on his Twitter account. ''A place that's very dear to my heart!''

Also, the Browns reportedly struck a deal with inside linebacker Karlos Dansby, who resurrected his career last season in his second stint with Arizona.

The team has not made any announcements.

With $49 million of space under the salary cap to sign players, new Cleveland general manager Ray Farmer addressed two pressing needs after the club decided not to re-sign safety T.J. Ward or linebacker D'Qwell Jackson - the Browns' top tacklers last season and two of their best players.

Whitner's deal is reportedly worth $28 million over four years, and Dansby's is for $24 million - $14 million guaranteed - over four years.

Farmer could be working on a blockbuster deal, with the Browns said to be interested in trading with Tampa Bay for shutdown cornerback Darrelle Revis. If they can land Revis and pair him with Pro Bowler Joe Haden, the Browns would have arguably the NFL's best tandem of cornerbacks. The Buccaneers are eager to part with Revis, who makes $16 million a year.

Revis has a previous relationship with Browns coach Mike Pettine, who coached him in New York.

The Browns didn't ignore their offense on the first day of free agency, signing Cincinnati wide receiver Andrew Hawkins, a restricted free agent, to an offer sheet. The Bengals have five days to match the contract or Hawkins will join the Browns, who need a replacement at slot receiver after releasing troubled veteran Davone Bess.

A two-time Pro Bowler, Whitner is returning to Cleveland to help turn around a franchise he pulled for as a kid. As word of his signing leaked out shortly after 4 p.m., Whitner, who played at Ohio State before he was drafted by Buffalo, tweeted ''O-H'' in a nod to both his alma mater and home state.

After playing 14 seasons in Cleveland, 49ers kicker Phil Dawson can appreciate Whitner's excitement about the homecoming.

''If most guys are honest, they have a soft spot in their hearts for their hometown, and obviously Donte's getting to go home,'' Dawson said on a conference call after receiving a new two-year deal with San Francisco. ''One thing I know about Cleveland is when you grow up there, you wear orange and brown. No matter where you go or how far you've been gone, if you've grown up in Cleveland, you're a Browns fan.

''I'm sure it's a special opportunity for Donte. Obviously we're going to miss him. He's a great player. He'll be a huge addition to that organization.''

Whitner spent five seasons with the Bills, who selected him with the No. 8 overall pick in 2006. Nicknamed ''Hitner,'' the 28-year-old signed a three-year, $11.75 million free-agent deal with San Francisco in 2011 and played three seasons with the 49ers, getting to the NFC championship each year.

He's been durable, missing just one game in the past four seasons.

Browns quarterback Brian Hoyer, another proud Clevelander, is thrilled to have Whitner as a new teammate.

''Great to have another hometown guy here to help us win! Congrats (at)DonteWhitner!'' Hoyer posted on his Twitter account.

The 6-foot-4, 250-pound Dansby fills the void left by the surprising departure of Jackson, the respected captain and team leader.

Dansby, 32, had 122 tackles, 6 1/2 sacks and four interceptions with the Cardinals last season. He spent his first six years with Arizona, signed with Miami for three and then returned to the Cardinals as a free agent in 2013.

A speedster who played collegiately at Toledo, Hawkins worked out for Cleveland in 2008 before he signed in the Canadian Football League. The 28-year-old signed with the Bengals in 2011 and had a career-high 51 receptions for 533 yards and four touchdowns in 2012. He was limited to eight games last season because of an ankle injury.

---

AP Sports Writer Janie McCauley in San Francisco contributed to this report.

---

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org

View Comments (25)
  • Arenado homers again, Kendrick leads Rockies over Reds 6-4

    Arenado homers again, Kendrick leads Rockies over Reds 6-4

    Nolan Arenado hit a three-run homer on Wednesday, extending his hitting tear, and Kyle Kendrick pitched into the eighth inning for his first win since opening day, leading the Colorado Rockies to a 6-4 victory over the Cincinnati Reds. The Rockies … More »

    AP - Sports - 9 minutes ago
  • Santana, Carrasco lead Indians past Rangers 12-3

    Santana, Carrasco lead Indians past Rangers 12-3

    CLEVELAND (AP) -- Carlos Santana capped and eight-run third inning with a three-run homer, leading the Cleveland Indians past Texas 12-3 on Wednesday to end the Rangers' seven-game winning streak. … More »

    AP - Sports - 9 minutes ago
  • A look at the 7 officials arrested in the FIFA raids

    A look at the 7 officials arrested in the FIFA raids

    Here is a look at the seven soccer officials arrested in Switzerland on warrants issued by the U.S. Justice Department after a corruption probe involving FIFA members. Authorities want them extradited to the United States: --- Jeffrey Webb, Cayman … More »

    AP - Sports - 9 minutes ago
  • Coca-Cola calls on FIFA to address issues linked to indictment

    Coca-Cola calls on FIFA to address issues linked to indictment

    By Anjali Athavaley NEW YORK (Reuters) - FIFA sponsor Coca-Cola Co said on Wednesday that the indictment of senior officials at the soccer governing body had hurt the mission of the World Cup and called on it to address the issues surrounding the … More »

    Reuters - 9 minutes ago
  • Bills GM tells AP he's had initial talks to re-sign Dareus

    Bills GM tells AP he's had initial talks to re-sign Dareus

    Bills general manager Doug Whaley says re-signing Marcell Dareus is his team's top priority, and he's already had preliminary contract talks in a bid to lock up the two-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle before the start of training camp next month. … More »

    AP - Sports - 12 minutes ago