Gipson, 29, had been to the playoffs just one time in eight NFL seasons, starting at safety for a Jacksonville Jaguars team that squandered an AFC Championship lead at New England in January 2018. Gipson wanted the chance to win a Super Bowl, and the Bears came calling with a void at safety.
So too did Bears cornerback Buster Skrine, a former teammate of and close friend to Gipson. Skrine spoke highly of the Bears' coaching staff and culture. Mostly, he referenced the opportunity to win.
Gipson believed in the chance that Chicago was offering and signed a one-year deal with the team last Friday.
"It’s just an awesome opportunity to walk into," Gipson said on a teleconference Tuesday. "And I’m excited. I truly am.”
After signing with the Bears, Gipson joined the team's virtual offseason program from his home in Dallas by immediately jumping into a Zoom chat. Gipson's home includes a framed jersey of Skrine's from their shared days with the Browns, plus several of Gipson's own jerseys with his No. 39 across the chest.
Gipson will have to wear No. 38 on his Bears uniform given that No. 39 belongs to fellow safety Eddie Jackson, with whom he will form a tandem in 2020. While Gipson was sad to lose a jersey number that became his "baby," that was the only downside he saw in playing alongside Jackson.
The Bears sought Gipson's services because they believe he can be the right complement to the two-time Pro Bowl selection Jackson. While the Bears don't define their safeties as free or strong, Jackson is likely to see the majority of his work in coverage. For his part, Gipson is plenty comfortable playing primarily in the box.
"I like his game," Gipson said of Jackson. "I like the way he plays the game. I like his instincts. Pairing with a guy like that, I’ve always priding myself on being ball-aware. And having two guys back there, with a D-line and a front seven like that in front of you ... that’s going to be a deadly combination. I’m excited to pair with him."
The Bears' addition of Gipson came just days after the conclusion of the NFL Draft, in which they passed on a number of intriguing options at safety -- including Antoine Winfield and Grant Delpit in the second round -- to address other positions on the roster.