ASHBURN — Just a month into the regular season the Redskins have been forced to revamp the safety position.
On Wednesday, the Redskins signed veteran safety Donte Whitner and fourth-year pro Josh Evans, who spent the last three seasons with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Whitner is the bigger name. A three-time Pro Bowler, the Cleveland Browns cut him in April. That allowed the Browns to escape the final two years of Whitner’s contract, which would have paid $6.2 and $6.3 million.
Whitner – originally drafted by the Buffalo Bills in the first round of the 2006 draft out of Ohio State – had a fine four-year run with the San Francisco 49ers from 2011 to 2013. Those teams appeared in three NFC title games and a Super Bowl with Whitner playing at a Pro Bowl level.
The signing became necessary when strong safety David Bruton, Jr. was placed on injured reserve Wednesday. He sustained a concussion in Sunday’s win over the Browns. Washington has already lost free safety DeAngelo Hall (torn ACL, right knee) for the season.
The remaining safeties on the roster are Duke Ihenacho, Will Blackmon and Deshazor Everett. Whitner signed and immediately practiced with his new team on Wednesday. He was not with any team during the offseason or training camp.
Evans was a sixth-round pick of the Jaguars in 2013 and started 36 of 48 games for them. He played college football at the University of Florida with new teammates Jordan Reed, Matt Jones, Quinton Dunbar and Mack Brown. They were all underclassmen when Evans was a senior in 2012.
Bruton has struggled at times to adjust to a full-time starting role with Washington. He won the strong safety job in training camp over Duke Ihenacho following a strong season in Denver in 2015. But Bruton missed the team’s Super Bowl run with a broken leg in late December. He signed a three-year, $9.15 million deal with the Redskins in March.
Follow Redskins reporter Brian McNally on Twitter.