The match between Bears, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix looks ideal

The match between Bears, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix looks ideal

Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix could’ve signed elsewhere for more money. Washington reportedly wanted him back; surely there was a solid market for a safety with 14 career interceptions. 

But Clinton-Dix chose a one-year deal worth a reported $3.5 million with the Bears. These are the kind of signings good teams are able to make when a free agent wants a shot at a Super Bowl more than a larger payday, at least for one year. 

“I was getting calls from other teams who wanted to sign me and the money was more,” Clinton-Dix said. “You see so many guys get to the end of their careers, their successful careers, and now they’re trying to chase a ring. I have the opportunity to do that in my prime.”

Clinton-Dix sees the Bears as a team that was “an Eddie Jackson away from winning a Super Bowl” in 2018, a nod to his friend and fellow safety’s ankle injury that kept him sidelined for the Bears’ wild card loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. From that standpoint, the Bears presented the best opportunity for him to build his free agency value a year from now while also providing a legitimate chance at winning a Super Bowl. 

And it's a lot easier to build your value as a free agent when you're making plays on the NFL's biggest stage. 

“Prove that I’m one of the best, man, and go out and win a championship,” Clinton-Dix said of his 2019 goals. “I think I got the perfect opportunity, coming into something great that coach (Matt) Nagy has created over there in Chicago, and I’m excited about my opportunity.”

Having a strong relationship with Jackson only sweetened the deal. 

Jackson was hosted by Clinton-Dix on his recruiting visit to Alabama, which came 11 days after Clinton-Dix and the Crimson Tide throttled Notre Dame in the 2013 BCS Championship (this was back when Jackson was listed on as a three-star wide receiver recruit. Nick Saban wanted him as a safety. That was the right call). The two stayed close after leaving Alabama, with Jackson citing Clinton-Dix as someone on whom he relied for guidance before, during and after the 2017 NFL Draft. 

Clinton-Dix saw Jackson at Halas Hall on his visit and had a chance to chat with him, which further confirmed the conversations abut the Bears the two had in previous weeks. 

“He talked to me in this process about the culture in Chicago and I bought in, man,” Clinton-Dix said. “I was on for the ride, and I’m excited about it. Me and Eddie, we’re very similar players and that makes it tough on quarterbacks. We both can play left and right. It’s going to be fun and a challenge for other teams.”

General manager Ryan Pace talked at the NFL Combine about how safeties have to be interchangeable, not just be solely be a rangy free safety or in-the-box strong safety. Clinton-Dix made note of that versatility between him and Jackson, and said the transition to the Bears’ defense shouldn’t be difficult given the scheme similarities between that of Mike Pettine (in Green Bay) and Chuck Pagano, who spent time together with the Indianapolis Colts. 

Clinton-Dix has had at least three interceptions in each of the last three seasons, including a five-pick 2016 that earned him a trip to the Pro Bowl. In having Clinton-Dix as Adrian Amos’ replacement, the Bears may be trading some discipline (a strength of Amos) for playmaking ability (a strength of Clinton-Dix). That’s not necessarily a bad thing given Pagano’s defense profiles as more aggressive.

Ultimately, the Bears likely did well to find a starting safety as accomplished as Clinton-Dix for the price they're paying. He may not be a solution beyond 2019 — after which Jackson will be due for a rich extension — but for the Bears’ chances of winning a Super Bowl, and for Clinton-Dix’s chances of landing a big contract a year from now, the match is ideal. 

“If there was any way I could come on to this team and contribute, man, and make plays and get my name back out there, I’m excited about that,” Clinton-Dix said. 

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Robbie Gould-Bears reunion appears to be all but dead

Robbie Gould-Bears reunion appears to be all but dead

Any chance of a Robbie Gould-Bears reunion happening for the 2019 season seems to be all but dead.

Monday, 49ers general manager John Lynch said that Gould will be with the team in 2019.

“Robbie is going to be a part of us this coming year, I know that,” Lynch said. “We would like it to be longer than that. We’ve made an attempt to make it happen. We haven’t come to an agreement as of yet, and we’ll see where that goes.

“But Robbie will be a part of us this coming year, and we’re excited for that because he’s very good at what he does and he’s also a big part of this team.”

Gould joined the 49ers in March 2017 on a two-year, $4 million contract. The 49ers placed the franchise tag on Gould on February 26, though the 36-year-old kicker has yet to sign the one-year, $4.9 million tender.

According to NBC Sports Bay Area, Gould is not participating in the 49ers' offseason program—he isn't obligated to do so— instead working out in the Chicago area. NBC Sports Bay Area also reported that the 49ers hope to re-sign Gould to a multi-year deal and spoke to the kicker's representation at the NFL Combine.

Lynch's declaration doesn't guarantee that Gould will sign the franchise tender, but it does indicate that he isn't on the market. Essentially, if Gould plays in the NFL in 2019, he will be with the 49ers. 

The Bears released Cody Parkey on March 13 after a rough first season in Chicago. This offseason, the team has added kickers Redford JonesChris Blewitt and Elliott Fry. The Bears are expected to add more kickers to the competition as the offseason moves along.

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Tarik Cohen admits losing Jordan Howard ‘hurt me a little bit’

Tarik Cohen admits losing Jordan Howard ‘hurt me a little bit’

The Jordan Howard trade was tough for Tarik Cohen.

The two Bears running backs had formed a backfield bond over the last two seasons, and Cohen was there to support him during the rumors and eventual move to Philadelphia.

“I was really following after him as soon as I came to the Bears because I was one year behind him, so he could tell me everything to do because he had already been through it,” Cohen said Monday. “Losing him, it hurt me a little bit. I’m not going to lie. It hurt me, because that’s like my brother.”

Both running backs understand football is a business as they go their separate ways. Cohen’s “brother” will get to work in the city of brotherly love, while the North Carolina native continues to go out in his adopted community.

Cohen and Bears chairman George McCaskey met with members of Heartland Alliance’s Rapid Employment and Development Initiative in Chicago as part of the team’s effort to combat gun violence.

“I wear a ‘C’ on my helmet every Sunday, and every time I play a game,” Cohen said. “So I feel like it’s necessary for me to get inside the community and see what’s going on, and to help any way I can.”

With Howard exchanging his “C” for green wings, Cohen is now the running back a year ahead in Matt Nagy’s offense as Mike Davis joins the backfield.

The former Seattle Seahawk is just getting to know Halas Hall in the first phase of the offseason program, but he and Cohen had already connected through a mutual friend — fellow North Carolina native Todd Gurley.

“Mike, he’s like one of the guys,” Cohen said. “He’s already fitting in the locker room. Everybody’s already getting along cool.”

Just like that, life moves on without Howard in Chicago. Cohen expects Ryan Pace to add a rookie to the backfield too, and then it’ll be his turn to be the mentor.

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