The last restricted free agent on the market is now officially under contract, according to Howard Balzer of The SportsXchange, who reports (via Twitter) that safety Tashaun Gipson has re-signed with the Browns. The team assigned Gipson a second-round tender worth $2.356MM earlier in the offseason.
While Gipson wasn’t happy with the RFA tender he received from the Browns, it’s not a huge surprise that he eventually relented and signed it, given his lack of leverage. As Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal wrote earlier today, Gipson said this week that he intended to rejoin the team after skipping voluntary workouts, and he would’ve risked nearly $2MM had he not signed by Monday.
The NFL’s Collective Bargaining Agreement indicates that if a restricted free agent hasn’t signed his one-year tender by June 15, his team has the opportunity to withdraw that offer and retain the player’s rights by extending a new offer worth 110% of his previous salary. Since Gipson made just $570K last year, that means the Browns could’ve reduced his offer from $2.356MM to $660K (the minimum salary for a player with his experience).
Instead, it appears Gipson will play the 2015 season on his RFA tender before becoming eligible for unrestricted free agency in 2016. While the 24-year-old has reportedly discussed a long-term contract with the Browns, he likely won’t hesitate to test the open market if given the opportunity, since he’d certainly draw interest from teams in need of talent in the secondary. Potential suitors this year were almost certainly scared off by the second-round pick they would have had to surrender had they been able to sign Gipson away from the Browns.
Over the last two years, Gipson has started 26 games for the Browns, racking up 146 tackles during that stretch and showing a knack for coming up with big plays — he has grabbed 11 interceptions during the last two seasons, returning two of them for touchdowns. Despite playing just 11 games in 2014, the Wyoming product earned a Pro Bowl nod.