What could Ha Ha Clinton-Dix bring to the Carolina Panthers?

Dean Jones
(Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports) Ha Ha Clinton-Dix
(Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports) Ha Ha Clinton-Dix /

The Carolina Panthers are taking a look at Ha Ha Clinton-Dix during minicamp this week, but can the safety make the 53-man roster?

It’s clear for all to see that the Carolina Panthers need some additional options at safety heading into the 2021 season. Matt Rhule is keen for there to be a fierce competition for places during training camp, which should stand the roster in good stead as they look to hit the ground running in their Week 1 opener against the New York Jets.

First reported by Pro Football Talk on Monday, the Panthers are bringing in Ha Ha Clinton-Dix to see what the player could potentially offer during their mandatory minicamp this week. The experienced safety didn’t play in 2020 after being released by the Chicago Bears, so it remains to be seen just how this lengthy absence away from the gridiron has impacted him from a talent standpoint.

Clinton-Dix got a similar opportunity with the Houston Texans earlier this offseason without anything coming from it. It appears his chances of maintaining his status as an NFL player are hanging by a thread and this opportunity in Carolina might just be his last.

The former No. 21 overall selection out of Alabama has started 90 of the 96 games he’s been active during his career, according to Pro Football Reference. Clinton-Dix never quite reached the heights expected and was often found wanting in coverage, but it’s not costing the Panthers anything to see what the veteran still has left in the tank.

Chicago obviously saw enough to think Clinton-Dix wasn’t worth keeping around after his one season with the team in 2019, despite the player gaining a highly respectable 74.9 grade from Pro Football Focus as a result of his efforts.

What could Ha Ha Clinton-Dix offer the Carolina Panthers?

Rhule has been more than willing to take chances on players like Clinton-Dix throughout his first year in Carolina. Individuals who are a little down on their luck with almost no other avenues they can go down to salvage their careers.

This has been met with mixed success so far. But the Panthers are at least airing on the side of caution by not giving Clinton-Dix a short-term deal without seeing what he can do first.

At least from the outside looking in, there might be an opening for Clinton-Dix to make the 53-man roster.

Moving Jeremy Chinn to the backend is sure to help matters in the secondary judging by what we saw from the Southern Illinois product throughout a standout rookie campaign. But Juston Burris needs to raise his game considerably to be considered a viable option moving forward.

Depth is also a concern unless someone like Sam Franklin or even Myles Hartsfield can make a leap forward.

Adding a little more know-how to the rotation would be a wise move. If Clinton-Dix doesn’t work out, there are some other potential candidates also worth considering.

What comes next will ultimately come down to what Clinton-Dix demonstrates at minicamp. It’s a high-pressure situation for the player, who experienced more than his fair share of big game moments with the Green Bay Packers.

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Fighting for your career is a completely different ball game. So it’ll be interesting to see how Clinton-Dix applies himself and integrates onto a roster that has a tremendous amount going for it next season.