Texans General Manager Bill O’Brien released Tashaun Gipson earlier this week. Last season, Gipson was Houston’s singe high free safety. He helped anchor the Texans’ competent deep pass defense by playing deep middle, and he also crawled down to do things like cover tight ends in man coverage. Tashaun Gipson was a fine player in 2019, which was the first of the three seasons his contract called for him to be in Houston.
No one really knows why O’Brien released Gipson. It wasn’t to save salary cap space, as the Texans actually lost $1 million against the 2020 cap by releasing Gipson instead of keeping him on the roster. The safeties the Texans signed as free agents last month, Eric Murray and Jaylen Watkins, have never shown the ability to do what Gipson does. Justin Reid could play Gipson’s role, but there’s no reason pull him out of the box, where Reid has a greater impact on the game play to play.
The only real answer that made sense is if the back injuries Gipson was dealing with, the same ones that allowed him to play 40+ snaps against the Titans in Week 17, knocked him out of the postseason, and placed Mike Adams in a starting safety role for the Texans, were going to affect the rest of his career.
That sounds dubious now that Gipson has already signed a new contract to play safety for the Chicago Bears.
If you’re looking for some good news, it’s that whatever the Bears are paying Gipson will act as a credit toward the $4.25 million dead cap hit left when O’Brien cut Gipson.
Ex: Say Gipson earns $1m from Chi. Houston will still keep the $4.25m in dead money on the 2020 books towards the salary cap. But would receive a $1m credit for 2021 towards the team salary cap.— TexansCap (@TexansCap) May 1, 2020
Gipson would earn $1m from Chi and $2.25m from Houston in salary. https://t.co/Nn3f8z7HaO
I don’t know why Gipson was released by the Texans. Maybe he isn’t a Bill O’Brien guy. Maybe his release was the move before a move. Maybe the sun isn’t chicken. Who knows?
What we do know is the release of Gipson leaves a hole in Houston’s secondary right now.