The Athletic’s Matt Barrows reported that 49ers free agency safety Tashaun Gipson wants to play in 2023. Gipson will take part in free agency next week.
The Niners signed a safety at the end of August, and he wound up starting 20 games and went on to set a career-high in interceptions with five.
John Lynch said last week at the NFL Combine that the 49ers would welcome Gipson back. But can they do better? Perhaps the better question is: Can the team afford better?
Gipson gave the 49ers everything they were looking for, and them some. Not only did he generate those turnovers, but he was a superb tackler, only missing five all season. The 49ers were terrific at limiting yards after the catch, and Gipson was among the league leaders, only allowing 2.8 in YAC.
Everything went right for Gipson in 2022. He’ll be 33 come August. The 49ers must ask whether his play is sustainable. The Achilles heel of the defense has been surrendering explosive passing plays under DeMeco Ryans. They were 31st in 2021, and improved last year, but only to 24th in DVOA on passes over 20 yards.
When you look back at Gipson’s interceptions, many of them fell into his lap. According to Sports Info Solutions, Gipson dropped five interceptions. So, there’s an argument to be made that some plays were left on the field.
I’d bring Gipson back on a minimum contract, but after last year, he’ll command more than that on the open market. The 49ers have three third round picks. Using one of those on a safety could shore up the secondary and save money in the short and long term.