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 has signed his second-round tender contract, the team announced on its website.
The deal will pay Gipson $2.356 million this season. If the two sides do not agree on a long-term deal, Gipson will become an unrestricted free agent after the 2015 season.
Gipson, who has training on his own during the team’s voluntary offseason workouts, will reportedly join the team for the start of the mandatory three-day minicamp on Tuesday.
Which is a very good thing.
“There’s no other team that I would rather play for. That’s the team that gave me the opportunity, and I’m more than grateful for the opportunity that they gave me looking back on it.” – Tashaun Gipson
The Browns had one of the best defensive secondaries in the league in 2014, finishing 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.
Gipson was a big part of that success as he made the Pro Bowl 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.
In addition to being selected for the Pro Bowl, Gipson was also named to the NFL’s Top 100 list (as voted by his peers), coming in at No. 67.
“At the end of the day, I’m going to play football,” Gibson said in an interview with radio station KFBC. “No matter if this contract situation is shook out, I will be playing in Cleveland. It’s just about, how will it be? I would like a long-term extension, but if it doesn’t work out, then you know, hey, I’m going to show up, be the same guy that I’ve been for the past three years, not causing problems, and continue to give 100 percent to the city of Cleveland and my organization.”
The Browns secondary has a chance to be even better this year with the addition of free agent Tramon Williams, the continued emergence of K’Waun Williams, and the expected (hopeful?) growth of Justin Gilbert.
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As he is wont to do, head coach Mike Pettine is willing to look past the business side of the game and focus on working to prepare the Browns for the upcoming season.
“When he’s here, we’ll coach the heck out of him,” Pettine told Northeast Ohio Media Group. “I can’t speak for where he is from a frame of mind or what his plans are, but when he’s here he’ll be welcomed. “(I’ve) been through this in all my time in the NFL — guys with contract issues. Things very quickly get forgotten once they show up.”
With Gipson signing his deal, the only player not currently under contract with the Browns is running back Duke Johnson, the team’s third-round draft selection. Johnson is one of just 12 players from the 2105 NFL Draft who have yet to sign a contract.
How good do you expect the Browns’ secondary to be in 2015?