5 pending 49ers free agents who (probably) won't return in 2024

San Francisco 49ers defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw (99)
San Francisco 49ers defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw (99) / Michael Zagaris/GettyImages
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No. 2: 49ers safety Tashaun Gipson

Another success story who seemingly came out of nowhere, the 49ers signed veteran defensive back Tashaun Gipson off the street just days before the 2022 regular season began, and that move was to backfill a void left by Jimmie Ward, who was dealing with a minor injury and would miss a few weeks.

When Ward came back, Gipson had manned the free safety spot so well that the former was forced into being the Niners' starting nickel cornerback.

No wonder San Francisco elected to re-sign Gipson and let Ward walk. The former, despite being older, was considerably cheaper despite posting a 2022 campaign in which he had five interceptions and eight passes defended.

That said, the one-time Pro Bowler will turn 34 years old prior to the regular season beginning, and the 49ers seemingly have already identified his replacement, rookie defensive back Ji'Ayir Brown, who was their top pick in this year's NFL Draft.

Read more: Ji'Ayir Brown reveals riveting story about how Niners drafted him

As long as Brown doesn't flame out early, he'll have the long-term job at free safety.

That means Gipson is suiting up for one final year with the Niners, nothing more.