49ers would hate to see Tashaun Gipson retire (but he might)

Tashaun Gipson Sr. #31 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Tashaun Gipson Sr. #31 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /

Veteran defensive back Tashaun Gipson was good enough to force the 49ers to have Jimmie Ward play another position. But will Gipson be back?

There were plenty of under-the-radar positive storylines the San Francisco 49ers enjoyed over the course of 2022.

One of the bigger ones was just how well veteran defensive back Tashaun Gipson played for the entire year.

Gipson wasn’t supposed to be a massive contributor to the Niners defense. However, starting free safety Jimmie Ward suffering a notable injury early in the season opened up the door for San Francisco to add Gipson off the street.

And, boy, Gipson delivered.

2022 might not have been a career year for the 32 year old (one would have to either go back to the 2013 campaign or his 2014 Pro Bowl campaign with the Cleveland Browns), but it was nevertheless highly productive, and it far exceeded expectations.

Gipson delivered with 61 tackles, eight passes broken up and five interceptions over 17 games as a starting free safety.

When Ward returned from his injury, the 49ers asked forced him to bump down to nickel cornerback.

Both free agents to be, Ward seems destined to play elsewhere in 2023, whereas Gipson is mulling over retirement.

Will 49ers need to replace Tashaun Gipson and Jimmie Ward?

Speaking to NBC Sports Bay Area’s Jennifer Lee Chan, Gipson made it clear that he’s undecided on his immediate NFL future.

“I’m going to decompress and see where I’m at,” Gipson said. “This was only supposed to be until Jimmie Ward got healthy, but I’m so grateful. I couldn’t have asked for a better situation.”

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Re-signing Gipson is likely to be a much cheaper option than re-signing Ward, but that’d take the former’s decision not to retire.

According to Gipson, there’s one player on the Niners roster who can certainly help, fellow safety Talanoa Hufanga, who made his first Pro Bowl and All-Pro squads this season.

“That youthfulness, I can’t tell you enough,” Gipson added about Hufanga. “He will be one of the sole reasons, honestly, for me wanting to continue playing. That’s how much love and gratitude I’ve got for him. I wouldn’t be here without him.”

That tandem at the back end of San Francisco’s secondary helped comprise the NFL’s best defense over the course of 2022.

And it’s probably one the 49ers would prefer to keep intact as much as possible.

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