While trimming their roster to 53 players, the Dallas Cowboys cut Ha Ha Clinton-Dix
This past offseason, the Dallas Cowboys made multiple veteran signings to help their defense. Before the season started, they lost two starting players. One is interior lineman Gerald McCoy, and the other is safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix.
While McCoy was lost due to injury, Clinton-Dix was simply cut from the team as they trim the roster to 53 players. There has been a lot of buzz surrounding the safeties, so this brings the question. Are the Dallas Cowboys better without Ha Ha Clinton-Dix?
After losing safety Jeff Heath in the offseason, Cowboys fans were thrilled to see they signed Clinton-Dix. Not only did he fill a need, but he was also an upgrade from Heath. But, if he was an upgrade, why was he cut?
First of all, he was the only safety on the roster that was a proven player. While Xavier Woods had a good 2019 season, one more good season would be needed to solidify himself. The other safeties have been looked at as backups or special teams players.
The next man up would likely be Daryl Worley, who is a corner/safety hybrid. He has played starting snaps in three of the past four seasons, and he would fit the role of a second coverage safety.
Safeties Donovan Wilson and Darian Thompson have both been depth/special teams players for the Cowboys. While Wilson has been quiet during training camp, the same can’t be said about Thompson.
He caught the eyes of head coach Mike McCarthy. Thompson has done enough during training camp to make his new head coach say this via DallasCowboys.com:
“His work ethic, his workload capacity is outstanding. He’s having a great camp.”
With McCarthy being more than pleased with Thompson thus far and his experience with the New York Giants, seeing Clinton-Dix cut becomes less surprising. In Thompson’s second season with the Giants, he played 97 percent of the defensive snaps and made 75 tackles while deflecting six passes.
Thompson may now be rewarded for his hard work and patience last season. But, is he a better option than Clinton-Dix? By looking at both of their statistics, Thompson’s ceiling is Clinton-Dix’s floor. Then again, I would think Thompson is better now than he was in 2017.
McCarthy must favor Thompson’s contract and his familiarity with the group around him. It is a good idea if Thompson lives up to his expectations. In this sense, the Cowboys aren’t necessarily better or worse.
What else can the Dallas Cowboys do?
By cutting Ha Ha, the Cowboys saved $1.5 million, which can be used to sign a free agent, but who? Three-time first-team All-Pro, Earl Thomas, is still available and has constantly been tied to Dallas.
The Cowboys do have the option to make this signing, especially if Thomas takes a discount. While adding him would be great, it may not be in the teams favor long-term.
Thompson is signed to a two-year $2.5 million deal, while Thomas would command much more. With issues surrounding the cap space this past offseason, owner Jerry Jones would likely try to avoid having a similar issue pop up again so soon.
Sure, you can sign Thomas to a one-year deal, but keeping Thompson as the starter would mean the team could carry over to next year and hopefully improve, with the option to extend his contract.
All in all, without Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, the Cowboys have more options. They can choose to roll with Thompson, or they can sign a big name in Thomas. I think that more options are better, so because of that the Dallas Cowboys are better off without him.