An Alabama defensive back reunion will take place in Chicago next season.
The Bears are signing ex-Packers first-round pick safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix to a one-year, $3.5 million contract, NFL Media first reported Thursday. Clinton-Dix, who was traded from Green Bay to Washington in October, will fill the starting void left by the departure of Adrian Amos to the Bears’ oldest rivals.
Clinton-Dix, 26, actually hosted his former Tide teammate and new Bears running mate, All-Pro safety Eddie Jackson, on Jackson’s visit to Tuscaloosa. Now they’ll reconnect on the NFL’s No. 1 playmaking defense.
And playmaking is a big part of Clinton-Dix’s game. He has 14 interceptions and four forced fumbles in his first five seasons, including two against the Bears. His tackling and overall consistency might be a tad below what Amos provided, but the Bears upgraded in playmaking, pedigree and undoubtedly price.
Amos signed a four-year, $37 million deal with the Packers that includes
$12 million fully guaranteed in Year 1, meaning Bears general manager Ryan Pace added another solid starter, albeit with a different skill set, while saving at least $11.5 million guaranteed at signing. The Bears’ defense adds more speed and range while sacrificing a bit of sure tackling.
Clinton-Dix was selected by the Packers seven spots after the Bears took Kyle Fuller and, like Fuller, made an immediate impact with 92 tackles, a sack and an interception as a rookie. After two more interceptions and a team-high 100 tackles in his second season, Clinton-Dix picked off five passes in Year 3 and three more in each of the past two seasons.
But Clinton-Dix fell out of favor with a new defensive coaching staff, led by defensive coordinator Mike Pettine, and new GM Brian Gutekunst, who traded Clinton-Dix to Washington for a fourth-round draft choice.
Washington GM Doug Williams sounded Thursday morning as though he was interested in re-signing Clinton-Dix, but not before the Bears lured him to Halas Hall and kept him there until he was signed.
“I know he’s a playmaker; that’s one thing he does,” Bears new nickel cornerback Buster Skrine said of Clinton-Dix, with whom he’s already visited this week at Halas Hall. “He’s got a lot of interceptions, and he’s not scared to hit anybody. Having a guy like that – he came from Alabama, one of the best college systems in college football, and then carrying it over to the NFL as a playmaker – it’s going to be awesome having him in the back end with me.”