Ha Ha Clinton-Dix is set to become a free agent, but what teams make the most sense for the young safety as NFL free agency kicks off in March?
The safety market is not what it used to be. There was a time when teams were salivating to add a player like Rodney Harrison or Sean Taylor who could blow up a play from the top. It really gave teams an advantage to have someone who could ball hawk while also putting fear into the soul of wide receivers going over the top.
Now, things aren’t that cut and dry. Still, safety is an important position on the defense, but it seems like teams are more interested in adding a slot cornerback than adding a really good safety.
That brings us to Ha Ha Clinton-Dix. He’s a player who went through an up-and-down year that ended with him getting traded to the Washington Redskins. It had nothing to do with the defense, but much more to do with the injury to Alex Smith and starting quarterbacks off the street.
Going into free agency, he’s a top-five safety on the market. If the New York Giants decided to place the franchise tag on Landon Collins, he’s arguably in the top three. That’s a really nice player that teams will covet. He played much better once he got comfortable in the Redskins defensive scheme, and showed some flashes. He’s still just 26 years old and is deserving of a nice, long-term contract.
There aren’t a ton of teams with safety as a priority this offseason, but there are enough to establish a good market for Ha Ha. He could cash out with a team that was hoping Collins made it to the market, just to realize he’s sticking in New Jersey. These five teams could be looking to add Clinton-Dix.
5. Oakland Raiders
The Oakland Raiders have all of the money this offseason. They are projected to have close to $70 million in cap space. Obviously, pass rusher is their most important need, but they will likely use their top draft picks to fill those positions.
They are set to lose both Marcus Gilchrist and Reggie Nelson in free agency. That puts a huge hole at the safety position, especially since Karl Joseph has not worked out as they hoped. He might get forced into the lineup, but signing a key free agent like Clinton-Dix would really help them in their secondary.
The Raiders need to spend the money they have opening up, and there’s not a ton available in their positions of need. They could really use a wide receiver, but the best on the market is Golden Tate and he will likely go to a contender. Every team in the league will be going after pass rushers, so the Raiders reputation at the bottom of the standings puts them at a disadvantage. This could give them the opportunity to beat everyone else’s offer for Clinton-Dix.
Also, how amazing would it be to have Jon Gruden say this guy’s name all season? It would give Frank Caliendo material for another 10 years.