The Chicago Bears feel like they got a steal when they signed safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix. Here’s a former Pro Bowler who is still in his physical prime as a player that was had for ridiculously cheap ($3.5 million) to fill the void left by Adrian Amos next to Eddie Jackson. There are plenty doing their best to say the Bears downgraded. Clinton-Dix isn’t at the level Amos is. That argument will likely go on for a while.
Instead of getting bogged down in that, a more interesting question was worth raising. Has there ever been a similar set of circumstances that represents his situation? A former budding star who fell on hard times, signed for cheap in Chicago and managed to revive his career? As a matter of fact, there is. One that baseball fans should remember well.
It came in 2005. The White Sox, to minimal fanfare, signed veteran right fielder Jermaine Dye to a two-year deal worth just over $10 million. By today’s standards, that’s chump change. Dye, a former All-Star in Kansas City, had been traded midway through the 2001 season to Oakland. He struggled there most of the way and was allowed to leave in free agency in 2004. Chicago scooped him up, believing he still had good baseball in him if he could stay healthy.
They were correct. Dye hit 31 home runs in 2005 and was the hero in the decisive game of the World Series, going 3-for-4 in Houston with the base hit that drove in the winning run. A move many felt was a gamble had paid off handsomely.
Ha Ha Clinton-Dix journey parallels Dye in many ways
So people will ask what this has to do with Clinton-Dix. That’s a fair question. He’s a football player and Dye is a baseball player. Different sports and what not. Here is a breakdown to help understand:
Starred early in his career with his original team? Check.
Clinton-Dix had 13 interceptions through his first four seasons with the Green Bay Packers and made the Pro Bowl in 2016.
Traded midway through the season? Check.
With frustration mounting in Green Bay midway through the 2017 season, the Packers traded the disgruntled safety to the Washington Redskins for a 4th round pick.
Struggled with the team he was traded to? Check.
In eight games with the Redskins, Clinton-Dix never seemed to find a footing. He failed to record an interception and suffered from a number of on-field mistakes that frustrated people.
Spurned likely bigger money elsewhere to join Chicago? Check that too.
Clinton-Dix may have been struggling at times but he was still a player with standout qualities. There is no question he could’ve gotten more money as a free agent than the one-year deal he signed with the Bears. Same as Dye with the White Sox. His decision is a calculated risk both on himself and the team being as good as it appears.
Now, this is not to say Clinton-Dix suddenly guarantees the Bears will win a championship in 2019. However, the similarities he shares with the former White Sox hero makes it hard not to be excited about what he might do this season.