After losing a productive safety to a division rival, the Bears went out and snagged a veteran who knows the division well.
The Chicago Bears‘ dynamic defense lost a bit of its luster early on in 2019 free agency when general manager Ryan Pace elected to not retain slot corner Bryce Callahan and safety Adrian Amos signed with the division rival Packers. Chicago quickly filled the hole left by the departed Callahan with veteran Buster Skrine, most recently of the Jets. And, luckily for them, the free agent market was still ripe with options at safety even after stars like Landon Collins and Tyrann Mathieu signed mega-deals.
After waiting out the two days of the legal tampering period and the first day of the new league year, the Bears signed former Packers and Redskins safety HaHa Clinton-Dix to a one-year deal. Clinton-Dix fills the hole left by Amos, and does so with plenty of experience within the NFC North.
According to NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo, Clinton-Dix’s one-year deal is worth $3.5 million.
This deal is phenomenal for both sides. The Bears get a former Pro Bowl safety for just $3.5 million, while the departed Amos – a very similar player – just signed a deal with an average annual value of $9.25 million. Clinton-Dix, meanwhile, a second-tier safety in a free agent class of first-tier safeties, gets a one-year deal to build his value with an elite defense before hitting the open market against next spring.
According to Garafolo, Clinton-Dix had more money on the table elsewhere but turned it down so he could join former his former Alabama teammate Eddie Jackson in the Bears secondary. Clinton-Dix and Jackson will now form one of the most formidable safety duos in the NFL, playing behind a fearsome front seven that already includes Khalil Mack and Akiem Hicks.
Clinton-Dix spent the first four and a half years of his career in Green Bay before being traded to Washington at least season’s trade deadline. His extensive experience within the division could prove invaluable when it comes to knowing opposing quarterbacks and coaches’ tendencies. Playing safety against Aaron Rodgers in practice every day for over four years should certainly help, too.
Despite the popular opinion that Clinton-Dix’s play deteriorated after the trade to the Redskins last year, his Pro Football Focus grade of 79.3 was actually the best of his career, and 17th-best among safeties in the NFL.