Oct 12, 2014; Cleveland, OH, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers running back LeGarrette Blount (27) carries the ball as as Cleveland Browns free safety Tashaun Gipson (39) defends during the first quarter at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ron Schwane-USA TODAY Sports
Cleveland Browns safety Tashaun Gipson came in at No. 67 on the NFL Network’s list of the Top 100 players of 2015.
The results are from voting by the league’s players.
Gipson made the Pro Bowl after the 2014 season after intercepting six passes in the first 10 games of the season. He suffered a knee injury in the Browns’ comeback win against Atlanta that sidelined him for the remainder of the season.
Since 2013, Gipson has 11 interceptions, the second-highest total in the NFL.
Gipson was part of a defensive backfield that helped lead a defense that was ninth in the NFL in points allowed at 21.1 per game, tied for 10th by allowing opposing offenses to convert on just 38 percent of third-down attempts, was second in interceptions with 21, was eighth in pass yards allowed per game at 224.5, and was tops in the league in allowing opposing quarterbacks to complete just 57.1 percent of their pass attempts.
“He’s a ball-hawking safety but we want to get him better in some other phases of his game,” fellow safety Donte Whitner told The Plain Dealer about Gipson. “But as far as getting the football and making plays for our team and putting us in positions to score he’s second to none.”
The irony in all this is that Gipson is currently not with the team as it works through 10 days of Organized Team Activities. A restricted free agent, Gipson is not participating because he is upset that the Browns gave him a second-round contract offer.
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If the Browns and Gipson don’t work out a long-term contract, the second-round tender would pay the fourth-year safety $2.356 million in 2015. If Gipson does not sign a contract by June 15, the Browns can reduce their offer to $627,000 — an amount equal to 110 percent of Gipson’s salary from last season.
They are not required to do that, of course, and general manager Ray Farmer can still give Gipson the original offer while continuing to work out a long-term deal with him.
The secondary is currently the strength of the defense and while the Browns continue to try and fix the problems with stopping the run, keeping one of the key players in the position group should be a priority — especially with defensive coordinator Jim O’Neil adding responsibilities in his second year running the defense.
“They say the group that’s supposed to take the biggest jump is the secondary from year one to year two and we really see that,” Whitner said. “So, we’re looking forward to getting out and working and putting it on the field.”
How far should the Cleveland Browns go to resign Tashaun Gipson?