When the Bears signed HaHa Clinton-Dix for roughly a third of what the Packers paid Adrian Amos, it was a great example of how teams on top stay on top.
Amos’ biggest fans have been the folks at Pro Football Focus. Through their various platforms, PFF raved about the Packers signing Amos and making him one of the ten highest-paid safeties in the league. But even they would have to admit there isn’t a very big difference between Amos and Clinton-Dix. The latter finished eighth in their silly ranking system last year and was their third-highest-ranked safety available in free agency.
While it’s safe to say nobody likes Amos more than PFF, it’s also safe to say they also quite like HHCD.
PFF doesn’t actually know how to grade safety play — or any other position, for that matter — so those grades are worthless. But, if they — the group that likes Amos more than anyone — think paying $9 million per year for him was a great move, what do they think of the Bears paying a player who is only slightly weaker $3.5 million?
We’d know, but PFF has been oddly quiet about the HHCD signing.
Outside of PFF grades, Amos and HHCD are vastly different players, but are pretty much the same caliber. Good enough to win with. Significant holes. It has been oddly convenient for some to ignore the level Amos played at when he wasn’t surrounded by stars — allowing an average passer rating of 115, per PFF. Pair him with Eddie Jackson, however, and his stiff hips aren’t noticed as much.
HHCD is awful when it comes to taking angles on oncoming ball carriers. Limit the number of free runners to him — just as the Packers did when they had Clay Matthews and Nick Perry playing at a high level along with Julius Peppers — and, well, it isn’t that big of a deal.
NFL games — and seasons — are decided by big plays. On the defensive side that means sacks, fumbles and interceptions. In those categories, HHCD has an edge with 14 interceptions, 5.5 sacks and four forced fumbles, compared to Amos’ totals of three interceptions, two sacks and three forced fumbles.
It isn’t difficult to find plays HHCD has made in his career that Amos simply has never been able to.
HHCD may also give up more big plays, but the popular narrative about tackles is overblown.
This is just one stat, so not trying to draw a major conclusion out of it, but: Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix had fewer missed tackles in 2018 (8) than Adrian Amos (9), per @PFF.
— JJ Stankevitz (@JJStankevitz) March 14, 2019
The truth is really simple: Both are average safeties who can thrive with the right help. There’s little question the Bears are going to give HHCD the right help, can the Packers do the same for Amos?