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Browns close with Whitner; Revis next?

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The Cleveland Browns are closing in on a deal with free agent strong safety Donte Whitner after T.J. Ward agreed to terms with the Denver Broncos hours after becoming an unrestricted free agent Tuesday.

The Browns are looking to solidify a secondary that was one of the strengths of the league's ninth-ranked pass defense in 2013.

Whitner, 28, could prove a precursor for an even bigger move, with the Browns showing significant interest in acquiring cornerback Darrelle Revis from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, according to NFL.com. Revis was acquired by the Bucs from the New York Jets last offseason, but Tampa Bay is under a new direction with general manager Jason Licht and head coach Lovie Smith, who reportedly are wary of paying Revis' $16 million salary for 2014.

Fox Sports 1's Alex Marvez reported the Bucs could release Revis before Thursday, when he's due a $1.5 million roster bonus, if they're unable to trade him because Smith doesn't believe he needs Revis for his scheme to be successful. The Oakland Raiders were also reportedly in the Revis chase as of Tuesday afternoon.

The Browns have one of the league's better cornerbacks in Joe Haden, but the other side of the field was vulnerable last season with teams regularly targeting Buster Skrine.

The Browns sent the Jets their first-round pick last year and a conditional fourth-round pick this year that becomes a third-round selection if Revis is on the roster March 13.

Revis was a Pro Bowl selection in 2013, but there were reports that he wasn't pleased with his role in the defensive system. The Bucs will have a new defense under Smith and coordinator Leslie Frazier, but the Browns would offer the same scheme as Revis played with the Jets.

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