Ha Ha Clinton-Dix has been a Pro Bowl safety for the Packers, but there’s no reason for the team to rush to sign him to a new contract.
The fact that safety Ha Ha Clinton Dix is skipping OTAs with the Packers is not a laughing matter. It’s also not a good reason for the team to move quickly to offer him a new contract. The current safety market in the NFL gives the Packers all the leverage in these negotiations.
Fortunately, the Packers coaching staff doesn’t seem too worried about Clinton-Dix’s absence. Defensive passing game coordinator Joe Whitt responded to questions about his safety’s absence by insisting he’s only worried about the players who are attending OTAs.
Two of those players are rookie corners Jaire Alexander and Josh Jackson. The Packers spent a first and second round picks to add those serious talents to their secondary. They are both cornerbacks by trade, but their presence diminishes Clinton-Dix’s negotiating power significantly. Corners are considered a much more precious commodity than safeties in today’s NFL.
The fact that several quality safeties are still available via free agency also gives Green Bay an advantage over Clinton-Dix. Tre Boston, Kenny Vaccaro and Eric Reid are all starting-caliber safeties that can currently be signed for next to nothing. Simply put, Clinton-Dix doesn’t have much leverage to wield against his team.
That’s why the Green Bay brass can comfortably sit back and wait for Clinton-Dix to return to the practice field. It’s highly unlikely he’s going to skip any mandatory team activities. That would cost the former Alabama star real money. His absence from OTAs is a minor inconvenience for the coaching staff, but they have plenty of defensive backs to coach without him present.
None of these means the Packers shouldn’t try to keep Clinton-Dix for the long haul. He’s a very athletic safety who covers up a lot of weaknesses in their defense. He’s the rare defensive back who can play center field in the passing game and come up and support the run defense. He was selected to the Pro Bowl for a reason.
It’s still right for the team to wait as long as possible before entering into negotiations with their safety. Waiting will only serve to drive his ultimate price tag down. Keeping Clinton-Dix should be a priority for the Packers, but only if he can be secured for the right price.