An Alabama defensive back reunion will be held in Chicago next season.
The Bears are signing ex-Packers first-round S 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 S 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 GM Ryan Pace added another solid starter, albeit with a different skill set, while saving at least $11.5 million guaranteed at signing. The Bears 'D' adds more speed and range while sacrificing a bit of sure tackling. That's a trade-off they'll gladly take.
Clinton-Dix was selected by the Packers seven spots after Chicago 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 campaigns.
But Clinton-Dix fell out of favor with a new defensive coaching staff, led by DC 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 CB Buster Skrine said of Clinton-Dix, with whom he's already visited at Halas Hall this week. "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."