The Dallas Cowboys released safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix on Thursday, cutting ties before the first game with the free agent they hoped could help fill the void of several losses in the secondary.
Clinton-Dix didn’t make it to the regular season despite being reunited with first-year coach Mike McCarthy. He played for McCarthy for four-plus seasons in Green Bay.
The 27-year-old former Alabama star, seen as a potential starter alongside Xavier Woods when he agreed to a deal in March, was demoted during training camp. Darian Thompson took over his first-team reps. Thompson started four games for the Cowboys last season.
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Clinton-Dix was the most experienced safety on the roster, but executive vice president of personnel Stephen Jones said the Cowboys could add another one before the opener Sept. 13 at the Los Angeles Rams.
Second-year player Donovan Wilson is the only other safety with NFL experience on the roster, but McCarthy has preached flexibility among all the defensive backs. Several cornerbacks could be considered for work at safety.
Clinton-Dix signed a one-year deal with $2.25 million guaranteed, but his release will give the Cowboys $1.5 million in salary cap relief.
The Packers drafted Clinton-Dix 21st overall in 2014. He had 14 of his 16 career interceptions with Green Bay, including a career-high five in 2016. The Packers traded him to Washington during the 2018 season, and Clinton-Dix spent last year in Chicago.
His signing came after Dallas lost three-year starter Jeff Heath to the Las Vegas Raiders in free agency. Byron Jones, who played safety earlier in his career, was another free agent departure, to Miami.