Browns' restricted free agents approach April 24 offer deadline

CLEVELAND -- The Cleveland Browns have tendered four restricted free agents, including a key defensive starter and a Pro Bowler. Those players have until a week from today (April 24) to field offer sheets from other teams.

That's probably why safety Tashaun Gipson (the Pro Bowler) and linebacker Craig Robertson, who both received second-round tenders (worth $2.356 million) from the Browns, likely haven't signed their tenders yet.

It's smart for them to press against the deadline, just in case an attractive offer comes.

Especially in the case of Gipson, who after six interceptions in 11 games last season is an accomplished safety on the open market, even a restricted one. For Gipson's services, a suitor must relinquish a second-round pick for the chance to sign him to a long-term deal. Most teams aren't in the habit of giving up high picks for safeties when they can just draft one. But Gipson is an ascending player who wouldn't shock if he got a few hard looks from the outside.

Defensive tackle Ishmaa'ily Kitchen and special teamer Johnson Bademosi received low tenders, worth $1.542 million.

The Browns would have until April 29 to exercise a right of first refusal on any deal. Plus, the Browns reserve the right to sign Gipson long term on their own. Gipson seemed a likely candidate for a first-round tender ($3.347 million) after recording nine interceptions in his last 14 games dating back to late 2013, but the Browns did just enough to protect themselves in this case, knowing a poaching job was unlikely for a player at Gipson's position.

In the end, save an outside offer, expect Gipson to sign his tender, which he must do in order to play in 2015.

Robertson, Kitchen and Bademosi will follow him.