Ha Ha Clinton-Dix

North Notes: Bengals, Hue, Browns, Pack, Vikes

A return to the Bengals could make sense for recently-fired Browns head coach Hue Jackson, as Mike Garafolo of NFL.com indicates (Twitter link). Jackson is extremely close with Cincinnati head coach Marvin Lewis, and has previously worked in the Queen City on two occasions, first as wide receivers coach from 2004-06 and then in multiple roles (including offensive coordinator) from 2012-15. The Bengals still have to play the Browns twice this season, so adding Jackson with the intent of gaining intel on Cleveland wouldn’t be out of the question, but Cincinnati could be concerned about forcing incumbent play-caller Bill Lazor to look over his shoulder.

Jackson also gave an interview Thursday to Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com in which he attempts to explain reports of “internal discord” between he and similarly fired Browns OC Todd Haley. The entire piece is well worth a full read, as Jackson expresses frustration at the prior state of Cleveland’s roster and the Browns passing on quarterbacks such as Patrick Mahomes, Deshaun Watson, and Carson Wentz in recent drafts.

Here’s more from the NFL’s two North divisions:

  • Browns interim head coach Gregg Williams isn’t once to mince words, and he didn’t hold back Wednesday when asked about other opportunities he’s had in the NFL. “Since I left Buffalo, I had 11 letters to interview for head coaching jobs,” said Williams (Twitter link via Cabot). “Four of them didn’t even have to interview, just show up and sign the contract.” Williams gave no indication as to what clubs offered him a position, nor do most (if any) teams hand out head coaching gigs without at least a sit-down meeting. Williams, who is retaining his role as Cleveland’s defensive coordinator, also said he had no part in promoting Freddie Kitchens from running backs coach to interim offensive coordinator, according to Tony Grossi of ESPN.com (Twitter link).
  • A.J. Green was in a walking boot following the Bengals‘ Week 8 win over the Buccaneers, and he’s still not “out of the woods,” tweets Paul Dehner Jr. of the Cincinnati Enquirer. It’s unclear exactly what issue is bothering Green, and initial reports suggested the boot was simply precautionary. But the injury has continued to swell, per Dehner, so Cincinnati is putting its star receiver through further tests. The Bengals are on a bye in Week 9 so Green has plenty of time to recover, but any absence would be a massive blow to Cincinnati’s offense as the club continues its push for a playoff spot.
  • The Packers traded both safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and running back Ty Montgomery following what were perceived as locker room issues, but Green Bay general manager Brian Gutekunst says neither deal was intended to send a message to Packers players, as Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com writes. “I think you take everything into consideration when you make these kind of decisions, but performance comes first,” Gutekunst said. “That’s always the major factor in these decisions. Everything’s taken into account, but it’s never usually just one thing.” Clinton-Dix had indicated he didn’t expect to re-sign with Green Bay, while Montgomery reportedly went rogue by taking a late-game kickoff out of the end zone on Sunday.
  • Before signing with the Vikings‘ practice squad earlier this week, defensive end Ifeadi Odenigbo also had p-squad offers from the Giants and Packers, per Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press (Twitter link). Odenigbo, who also worked out for the Saints earlier this week, says he’ll now play only on the edge for Minnesota instead of dabbling at defensive tackle, and interestingly says that designation was actually part of his pact with the Vikings.

North Notes: Tate, Packers, Browns, Burns

The Lions are only one game out of the NFC North lead, but they nonetheless made the decision to trade their most productive wide receiver since Calvin Johnson to the Eagles. Golden Tate is now in Philadelphia, and some Lions staffers are “very surprised” about that transaction, Albert Breer of SI.com notes. This led Breer to wonder if there was a conflict between Tate and the Lions, and a team source informed him that wasn’t the case. Instead, the Eagles’ offer of a third-round pick for a player who was likely on his way out after 2018 was too good to pass up. Tate would have netted the Lions a compensatory pick had he left in free agency, but that selection would’ve come in the 2020 draft. Now, Detroit has an additional Day 2 pick in 2019. Tate’s departure, though, makes any Lions playoff hopes less likely.

Several of the North divisions’ teams made moves before the trade deadline. Here’s more fallout from some others, along with the latest from some other North franchises:

  • Ty Montgomery‘s fumble on Sunday in Los Angeles didn’t just prompt non-essential Packers to anonymously gripe about the mistake. Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel notes respected veterans called out the since-traded running back/return man. That, coupled with Montgomery not accepting full responsibility for his mistake and publicly expressing trust issues with teammates, signaled the Packers had to move on from the former third-round pick, per Silverstein. Montgomery stands to finish out his contract year with the Ravens.
  • The Packers were not happy about the way Ha Ha Clinton-Dix‘s 2017 season ended, with Silverstein writing Green Bay brass believed the 2014 first-round pick avoided tackles in the season finale against the Lions. This helped influence the Packers’ decision to not enter contract talks with Clinton-Dix prior to the 2018 season. While this tactic isn’t uncommon for the Packers, who let established starters Randall Cobb, Bryan Bulaga, Sam Shields and others play out their contract years before re-signing them, it led Clinton-Dix to believe he wasn’t going to be back next season. Hence, the trade to Washington. GM Brian Gutekunst, however, said (via ESPN.com’s Rob Demovsky) these trades weren’t meant as a message for the locker room.
  • As far as replacing Clinton-Dix, the Packers have some interesting options. One NFC scout told Silverstein their best choice might be to move recently added cornerback Bashaud Breeland to safety and play him in tandem with Jermaine Whitehead. Kentrell Brice served as Clinton-Dix’s safety running mate this season. A four-year Redskins starter, Breeland has not played a snap for the Packers yet. Another option, as Demovsky details, would be to play 2017 second-rounder Josh Jones. He’s worked as a special-teamer thus far. Tramon Williams could be an option as well, so Green Bay is not lacking in possible solutions.
  • The Browns named former Cardinals quarterback Ryan Lindley as their running backs coach today. This is interesting on multiple levels. The 29-year-old now-coach’s highest level of experience came as a San Diego State graduate assistant. Lindley, though, played under new Browns OC Freddie Kitchens with the Cardinals when Kitchens was their QBs coach.
  • Artie Burns did not play a snap in the Steelers‘ win over the Browns on Sunday. Mike Tomlin said he benched the former first-round cornerback because he was late for a walkthrough, but Burns said Wednesday (via Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette) he was back with the starters at practice. Coty Sensabaugh started in place of Burns in Week 8.

Packers Trade Ha Ha Clinton-Dix To Redskins

Packers safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix has been traded to the Redskins, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). In return, Green Bay will receive a 2019 fourth-round pick, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (on Twitter) hears. The deal represents the latest blockbuster move on deadline day and the Packers’ second trade of the afternoon. 

Before the Clinton-Dix deal, the Packers traded running back Ty Montgomery to the Ravens for a future 2020 seventh-round pick. The Montgomery trade was likely tied to discord between the player and the coaching staff, but the Clinton-Dix trade has more to do with finances. The young safety is in his contract year and he recently acknowledged that he is unlikely to re-sign with the team after shopping the open market.

Right now, I’m playing each and every game like it’s my last. I don’t think I’m going to be here next year,” Clinton-Dix said earlier this month. “That’s how I look at it. I just (have to) be honest with myself. You’ve got to play it game-by-game. Whether we’re losing by 60 points, you’ve got to go out there and perform. This is my biggest interview of my career. So I’ve got to perform, regardless of what the record says.”

The 25-year-old (26 in December) was retained for 2018 via the fifth-year option which is paying him $5.957MM. He stayed away from voluntary OTAs in hopes of getting a long-term deal from the Packers, but that never came together.

In seven games this year (all starts), Clinton-Dix has three interceptions, one forced fumble, and a sack to his credit. On an individual level, the free safety is in the midst of a career year.

Clinton-Dix will join a safety group presently headlined by D.J. Swearinger and Montae Nicholson. Rookie Troy Apke could have been on track for a larger role at some point this year, but he was recently placed on IR with a hamstring issue.

The Packers did not want to lose Clinton-Dix while only gaining some credit in the compensatory pick formula, but the deal unquestionably will cost them in the short term. At 3-3-1 in a closely contested division, it’s somewhat surprising to see the Packers in selling mode.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Trade Rumors: Carr, Raiders, Peterson, Taylor

We learned earlier this morning that Buccaneers wide receiver DeSean Jackson has requested a trade, though the team wants to keep him. Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times tweets that Jackson, on his way to the team bus this morning, declined to comment on the report.

With the trade deadline two days away, let’s round up a few more trade rumors from around the league (Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports, who says many GMs expect there to be three to five “impactful” deals over the next 48 hours, offers a helpful primer, which includes a list of some of the most-discussed players on the market):

  • Albert Breer of TheMMQB says that the Raiders may not be done dealing just yet, though he does not expect the team to move Derek Carr (indeed, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reported this morning that the Raiders have told Carr that he is the quarterback of the present and future). However, Oakland is open to moving Karl Joseph and Gareon Conley, though the Raiders are driving a “hard bargain” with teams interested in Conley.
  • Breer names a number of other players whose names we have not heard in recent rumblings but who could nonetheless be on the move: the PackersHa Ha Clinton-Dix, the 49ersPierre Garcon and Jimmie Ward, the CardinalsChandler Jones, and the BroncosShane Ray and Brandon Marshall. Breers adds that San Francisco would need to get something “significant” to deal Ward. He also says that, while teams are certainly interested in Denver corners Bradley Roby and Chris Harris, he thinks it would be difficult for the team to trade either.
  • If they had elected to trade Patrick Peterson, La Canfora writes that the Cardinals could have received a bounty for him, and may have even landed multiple first-round picks (in fact, several teams were already prepared to offer a first- and second-rounder). JLC reports that Peterson was considered the “crown jewel” of the deadline, and given his attractive contract status, he may be the subject of renewed trade rumors during the offseason.
  • Breer also writes that the Browns are open to trading Tyrod Taylor, whose contract structure could make a deal feasible. Meanwhile, Tony Grossi of ESPN.com suggests that Cleveland GM John Dorsey may be trying to acquire wide receiver help (Twitter link).
  • The Bills remain unlikely to trade LeSean McCoy, per Schefter.
  • Jets GM Mike Maccagnan has demonstrated a proclivity for making trades, and Rich Cimini of ESPN.com says Maccagnan has been doing his due diligence on everyone, including big-name players. But while there is a sense that New York could swing a deal, the fact that the team is in a no-man’s land between buyer and seller, and the fact that the roster does not have many tradeable pieces, could make a trade difficult to pull off.

Clinton-Dix Doesn’t Expect To Stay With Packers

Ha Ha Clinton-Dix is in his contract year, and he doesn’t expect to be back with Green Bay in 2019. In a candid conversation with reporters, the safety indicated that he’s in his final days as a member of the Packers. 

Right now, I’m playing each and every game like it’s my last. I don’t think I’m going to be here next year,” Clinton-Dix said (via Jason Wilde of the State Journal). “That’s how I look at it. I just (have to) be honest with myself. You’ve got to play it game-by-game. Whether we’re losing by 60 points, you’ve got to go out there and perform. This is my biggest interview of my career. So I’ve got to perform, regardless of what the record says.”

The Packers are now 2-2-1 after falling 31-23 to the rival Lions. It’s not the start that Clinton-Dix and the Packers had in mind, but they’ll have a chance to get over the .500 mark when they face the 49ers on Monday night.

The fifth-year safety was retained for this season via the fifth-year option, which is paying him $5.957MM. He stayed away from voluntary OTAs in hopes of getting a long-term deal, but that never came together, and Clinton-Dix doesn’t seem optimistic about that happening now. Clinton-Dix has come to terms with his future prospects in Green Bay, but he’s far from unhappy with the team.

I like [defensive coordinator] Mike Pettine a lot. He’s given me a chance to fly around and make plays,” Clinton-Dix said. “When guys are doing what they’re asked to do, we don’t look too bad out there. There are little mistakes we make, but other that, we’re all having fun out there and once we all get in a rhythm and start catching interceptions, it’s only going to bring us together. I’m actually having fun — regardless of what the record says — because of the defense and the way it is right now. We’re going to get better. Once we get rolling, we’re going to be hard to stop, if you ask me.”

Clinton-Dix, 26 in December, is tied for the league-lead in interceptions with three. He also ranks as Pro Football Focus’ No. 7 ranked safety through five weeks of the season, so he’s building a strong case for himself as he approaches free agency for the first time in his career. A big payday could be in the Alabama product’s future, though a repeat of this year’s depressed free agent safety market could limit his prospects.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC Notes: Packers, Kizer, Rams, Donald, Redskins, Guice

Like most years, the success of the 2018 Packers will depend on the health of Aaron Rodgers. But unlike last year, who the Packers might turn to if Rodgers were to go down isn’t clear. The team was reportedly high on Brett Hundley, and was seen by most around the league as having some trade value before he was forced into action when Rodgers broke his collarbone last year. Hundley struggled mightily across nine starts, throwing for just nine touchdowns and 12 interceptions with a dismal 5.8 yards per attempt.

The Packers showed their dissatisfaction with Hundley by trading for DeShone Kizer this offseason. Now the once hot commodity finds himself in a battle just for his roster spot. The Packers’ upcoming three day minicamp is expected to be a big development in the battle for the backup quarterback spot, according to Michael Cohen of Packers News. Cohen notes that Hundley is heading into the final year of his rookie contract, and will have to show out this summer in order for the Packers to bring him back next year, especially with Kizer waiting in the wings.

With Rodgers expected to be excused from the minicamp, Cohen states that Hundley is “expected to take the majority of first-team reps” but that Kizer “will have ample opportunity to show his progress.” Whatever happens, it’ll be an interesting situation to keep an eye on as Kizer seeks to revive his career in Green Bay.

Here’s more from around the NFC:

  • Cohen reports that Ha Ha Clinton-Dix is expected to be in attendance for the mandatory minicamp. The 2014 first-rounder is heading into the final year of his rookie contract after the Packers exercised his fifth-year option last year. Clinton-Dix has missed all of OTAs for undisclosed reasons.
  • The Rams are uncertain whether or not Aaron Donald will show up for their mandatory minicamp, which starts tomorrow, according to Lindsey Thiry of ESPN. Donald is angling for a contract extension that will make him the league’s highest paid defensive player as he enters the last year of his rookie deal. Donald held out of all of training camp and ended up missing the first game of the season last year due to unhappiness with his contract, although he did show up to minicamp last year to avoid being fined.
  • The Redskins coaching staff “loves what they’ve seen” from Derrius Guice this offseason, according to Albert Breer of SI.com. Breer says “murky rumors” are the only reason Guice fell to the Redskins in the second round of this year’s draft, and that the Redskins think they got a great value. The Redskins have a crowded running back room, but Breer thinks Guice “should be a factor” in his rookie season.

Latest On Ha Ha Clinton-Dix

Packers safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix has yet to show for OTAs, but his absence is apparently not related to his contract. Clinton-Dix has been away from the team due to personal reasons, Jason Wilde of ESPN Wisconsin reports (on Twitter), and he will be with the team during the mandatory minicamp. 

At first, it seemed that Clinton-Dix might have been angling for a better deal. The 2016 Pro Bowler is entering his walk year and is slated to earn $5.96MM. After playing out the fifth-year option season, he’ll be eligible for unrestricted free agency.

Clinton-Dix has yet to miss a game in his four-year career, and has started every game in each of the last three seasons. He enjoyed his best season in 2016, when he earned Second Team All-Pro honors after snagging a team-best five interceptions. Though he logged three picks in 2017, the Packers also allowed the fourth-most passing touchdowns and ranked in the bottom ten in passing yards allowed.

Last year, Clinton-Dix graded out as the No. 40 ranked safety in the NFL, per Pro Football Focus. His 79.1 overall score put him ahead of notables such as George Iloka, Bradley McDougald, Malik Hooker, and Morgan Burnett. Though it was a decent year, the advanced metrics indicate that he had better efforts in 2015 and ’16.

Dix will return as the Packers’ starting free safety this year with 2017 second-round pick Josh Jones at strong safety. They’ll be flanked first-round cornerback Jaire Alexander and free agent addition Tramon Williams.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Clinton-Dix Skips Packers OTAs

Packers safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix is skipping organized team activities, Pro Football Talk’s Charean Williams writes

The 2016 Pro Bowl selection has yet to comment on his absence, but Williams speculates he could be looking for an extension as he plays 2018 under his fifth-year option worth $5.96MM.

Clinton-Dix has yet to miss a game in his four-year career, and has started every game in each of the last three seasons. He enjoyed his best season in 2016, when he earned Second Team All-Pro honors after snagging a team-best five interceptions. Though he logged three picks in 2017, the Packers also allowed the fourth-most passing touchdowns and ranked in the bottom ten in passing yards allowed.

Green Bay isn’t letting the absence slow down their program. “It’s voluntary. So the guys that are here are the guys that we’re worried about,” defensive passing game coordinator Joe Whitt told Ryan Wood of the Green Bay Press-Gazette.

Packers Pick Up Ha Ha Clinton-Dix’s Option

The Packers have exercised Ha Ha Clinton-Dix‘s fifth-year option, a source tells Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). The news was expected. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (vertical)

In 2016, Clinton-Dix played in every defensive snap for the Packers and picked off five passes en route to his first career Pro Bowl selection. The advanced metrics at Pro Football Focus ranked him as the 20th best safety in the NFL and he should only improve going forward.

The safety is now scheduled to earn $5.597MM in 2018, a sum that is guaranteed for injury only. In this upcoming season, he’ll be under contract at a super reasonable $2.653MM cap number. According to Over The Cap, there are 55 safeties in the NFL who will earn more than Clinton-Dix in 2017.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC Notes: Hawks, Falcons, Pack, Saints

The Seahawks had been in danger of losing a second-round pick for failing to disclose cornerback Richard Sherman‘s “significant” MCL injury during the season, but the NFL decided Monday to let them off with a warning, tweets Mike Garafolo of NFL.com. The league concluded that the Seahawks merely misinterpreted its rules, per Garafolo. The news that Seattle is escaping punishment isn’t particularly surprising, as one of Garafolo’s NFL.com colleagues, Ian Rapoport, reported earlier this month that Seattle wasn’t going to face serious discipline for its violation.

More from Seattle and a few other NFL cities:

  • The Falcons have hired Bush Hamdan as their quarterbacks coach, reports Sporting News’ Alex Marvez (Twitter link). The younger brother of former NFL quarterback Gibran Hamdan, Bush Hamdan spent the previous two seasons as the University of Washington’s wide receivers coach and pass game coordinator. He’s taking over in Atlanta for Matt LaFleur, now the Rams’ offensive coordinator. In doing so, Hamdan will reunite with head coach Dan Quinn, notes Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times (via Twitter), as the two worked together at the University of Florida in 2012.
  • The Packers have a decision to make on pending free agent defensive back Micah Hyde, who could seek $4MM-plus per year on his next contract, writes Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com. Hyde, who’s coming off an 11-start, three-interception season, has been with the Packers since they selected him in the fifth round of the 2013 draft. If Hyde moves on, Green Bay could turn to Kentrell Brice and Marwin Evans, Demovsky suggests. Elsewhere in the secondary, the team will either extend safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix or exercise his fifth-year option for 2018, as Demovsky opines that the Pro Bowler could be general manager Ted Thompson‘s best first-round pick since he chose Aaron Rodgers in 2005. Clinton-Dix made a strong case for that honor as a third-year pro in 2016, when he played every defensive snap for the Packers and picked off five passes.
  • Newly signed Seahawks kicker Blair Walsh‘s single-year contract is worth $1.1MM and includes no guaranteed money, per Sheil Kapadia of ESPN.com. Walsh stands to earn an $800K salary and could make another $300K in bonuses. The Seahawks are likely to bring in another kicker to compete against Walsh for the job this summer. Odds are that won’t be soon-to-be free agent Steven Hauschka, observes Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times, considering the five-year Seahawk will likely be out of their price range.
  • Continuing a Seahawks-heavy set of notes, defensive end Cliff Avril tweeted that he underwent successful surgery Tuesday. Avril didn’t specify which type of surgery he underwent, though Condotta points out that the physician who performed the procedure – Dr. William C. Meyers – specializes in core and sports hernia operations. Regardless, Avril should be fine for 2017 and will attempt to build on his first Pro Bowl season – an 11.5-sack, five-forced fumble campaign.
  • Fullback John Kuhn‘s one-year pact with the Saints is a minimum salary benefit deal worth $1.08MM, tweets Nick Underhill of The Advocate. Kuhn will earn a $1MM salary and count $695K against New Orleans’ cap in 2017.