Texans sign Tashaun Gipson as a Tyrann Mathieu replacement, reportedly no longer in play for Earl Thomas

After losing three members of their secondary, the Texans spent Tuesday rebuilding the backend of their defense.

First, they agreed to sign former Broncos cornerback Bradley Roby as their replacement for Kareem Jackson, who departed in free agency for Denver. Then, a little later on Tuesday, the Texans agreed to a contract with former Jaguars safety Tashaun Gipson, who will take the spot vacated by new Chiefs safety Tyrann Mathieu. All deals can’t become official until Wednesday, when the new league year begins. 

The Texans did not announce the terms of the deal, but according to The Monday Morning Quarterback’s Albert Breer, the Texans will pay roughly $22 million over the next three seasons. For the sake of comparison, consider that Mathieu earned a reported three-year, $42 million deal from the Chiefs and that before Mathieu got his $14 million per season, Earl Thomas wanted at least $13 million per season, as CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora reported. 

It should come as no surprise to hear that the Texans are no longer in the mix for Thomas, according to Breer. 

Gipson isn’t as good of a player as Mathieu, but the Texans can feel decent about acquiring a solid replacement for a solid price. An undrafted free agent, Gipson spent the first four years of his career with the Browns and the past three with the Jaguars before they cut him along with two other veterans to manufacture some cap space, which they then used on quarterback Nick Foles. In his seven-year career, Gipson has appeared in 98 of 112 possible games with 90 starts. He’s averaged 41 solo tackles, 5.6 passes defended, and 2.9 interceptions per season. 

In that sense, he doesn’t really play the same position as Mathieu, who is a Swiss Army knife. Gipson is more of a traditional safety, which — again — is fine for the Texans. There aren’t many safeties in the league like Mathieu, hence his monster contract with the Chiefs. Gipson isn’t on the same tier as him, but he’s a solid player who can fill an area of need in Houston. 

While most of the attention during the Texans’ playoff run this past season went to Deshaun Watson and DeAndre Hopkins (and rightly so), their defense played a significant role in their success, ranking as the seventh-best defense by DVOA. That defense will look a bit different during the upcoming season. 

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