The Cleveland Browns slapped a second-round restricted free-agent tender worth $2.356 million on safety Tashaun Gipson last month. Though the move opened up other teams to present offers to Gipson that the Browns would be forced to match in order to keep him, it also served as a jumping-off point for long-term contract negotiations.
Those talks, at least for now, appeared to have stalled, as noted by Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland’s The Plain Dealer. Per Cabot, Gipson did not show up for the Browns’ voluntary offseason program that began on Monday, instead choosing to work out in his native Texas. Gipson reportedly “wasn’t thrilled” with the second-round tender and would much prefer a multi-year contract. Since he has not yet signed the tender, he is not beholden to the Browns or any team.
Gipson totaled six interceptions in 2014—the second-highest total in the league—even though he missed the final five games of the season due to an MCL sprain to his right knee. The 24-year-old is one of the Browns’ biggest gems in their secondary and one of the best safeties in the NFL in spite of his background as an undrafted free agent.
Last fall, per Cabot, Gipson said that he’d like to remain with the Browns for the duration of his career.
“I’d love to finish my career playing in this city. This is the first organization to give me my opportunity, the first one that took a chance on me, an unheralded guy coming out of Wyoming that nobody wanted to take a chance on. God blessed me to come here so I definitely want to finish my career here, play here in the city of Cleveland.”
Interested teams have until Friday to make Gipson an offer; should one do so, the Browns then have until April 29 to match it or let him go, giving the team a 2015 second-round draft pick as compensation. It’s likely that the Browns will do whatever it takes to make sure Gipson is paid and happy for 2015 and beyond, given how well he has performed and how dedicated he is to the team. The Browns currently have more than $26 million in salary cap space, so finding the money won’t be a problem.
Photo: USA Today Sports