The Browns’ organized team activities get underway today, and one notable defender won’t be in attendance. According to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (via NFL.com’s Marc Sessler), safety Tashaun Gipson doesn’t intend to report to the team’s second round of offseason workouts. Gipson also skipped the first portion of the club’s voluntary spring program.
As I noted earlier this month when I provided an update on this year’s restricted free agent class, Gipson is the only RFA who appears demonstratively unhappy with his contract situation. After receiving a second-round tender from Cleveland, the safety has yet to sign that one-year offer, and is seeking a long-term contract, according to Rapoport.
Gipson, 24, has a stronger résumé than most players who become restricted free agents after their first three NFL seasons. Over the last two years, the Wyoming product 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, Gipson earned a Pro Bowl nod.
If Gipson wants to play hardball with the Browns, he’s in a decent position to do so. Because he remains unsigned, he could skip the team’s mandatory minicamp and decline to report to training camp without risking a fine. Still, it would be a surprise if Gipson’s holdout extended into the regular season, since another strong year would put him in line for a nice payday in 2016, when he’s eligible for unrestricted free agency.