The Dallas Cowboys have needed improved safety play for several seasons. With a reported deal with Ha Ha Clinton-Dix set, have they found their answer?
The safety position has been a much-debated concern for the Dallas Cowboys over the past several seasons. And with the free agency news that starting safety Jeff Heath is now leaving to play with the Las Vegas Raiders, the Cowboys are set to go an exciting new direction at the position. And fans didn’t have to wait long for that news.
Last Thursday night, it was reported by Calvin Watkins of the Dallas Morning News that the Cowboys have agreed to sign 27-year old free agent safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix. It appears to be a one-year contract worth $4 million, with $2.5 million guaranteed according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram (via Adam Schefter).
A first-round selection in the 2014 NFL Draft out of Alabama, Clinton-Dix spent his first five seasons with the Green Bay Packers. And his signing surely has a lot to do with the fact his former head coach in Green Bay currently resides in that exact same position in Dallas.
Mike McCarthy started Clinton-Dix in 10 games as a rookie. He’d be a 16-game starter throughout the rest of his career. The Packers eventually parted ways with Clinton-Dix midway through the 2018 season, trading him to the Washington Redskins for a fourth-round pick. McCarthy was fired by the Packers not long after.
In nine games for Washington, Clinton-Dix posted 66 combined tackles and three pass deflections. He’d record six tackles in a 31-24 win over Dallas in their Week 14 matchup. The Redskins’ defensive line coach at the time, Jim Tomsula, just got hired on in the same role for the Cowboys this offseason.
Clinton-Dix would sign a one-year, $3.5 million deal to join the Chicago Bears as a free agent last March. The former first-rounder recorded 78 total tackles, five pass defends, two interceptions, and a defensive touchdown for the Windy City last year.
Pro Football Focus gave Clinton-Dix an overall grade of 74.2 for his play in 2019, the second-highest grade of his six-year career. PFF also noted that he allowed a passer rating of 69.2 when targeted last season.
Ha Ha Clinton-Dix should pencil-in as the Dallas Cowboys’ starting safety next to Xavier Woods. Although the recently re-signed Darian Thompson, who started four games for the Cowboys last season, might have something to say about that. But considering the new coaching staff in Dallas and the veteran defender’s familiarity with head coach Mike McCarthy, you have to believe Clinton-Dix will be given every opportunity to be the safety savior for America’s Team.