5 San Francisco 49ers who won't be back after heartbreaking Super Bowl loss

NFC Divisional Playoffs - Green Bay Packers v San Francisco 49ers
NFC Divisional Playoffs - Green Bay Packers v San Francisco 49ers / Ryan Kang/GettyImages
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4. Tashaun Gipson, S

Make no mistake, Tashaun Gipson has been a plus player for the 49ers defense over the past two seasons, but in 2023 particularly. Sure, if you look at the stat sheet, he only registered 60 total tackles with just one interception and three pass defenses, but his impact was far greater than that with how he proved himself as a defensive leader on the back end.

At the same time, though, Gipson was a veteran flyer who ultimately worked out for San Francisco. Now at the end of his contract and slated to hit free agency, the safety will be 34 years old when Week 1 rolls around for the 2024 regular season. Can this team really bank on him being the same player he was in 2023 for another season at that age? It's hard to say that with one's chest.

If that weren't enough, one of the reasons that Gipson played such a crucial role for the 49ers this season was young up-and-comer Talanoa Hufanga suffering a torn ACL in November. He should be close to returning by Week 1 of next season, though, which will likely allow the 49ers to move forward with Hufanga and 2023 rookie Ji'Ayir Brown as the starting safety tandem for this defense.

There is a world where Gipson could look to stick around at a place where he found late-career success by signing at a discount to be a backup to the youngsters in the San Francisco secondary, but I'm not sure he'd take that opportunity just yet. As such, it's more likely that the Niners end up letting him walk or retire rather than bringing him back.