Vonn Bell Highlights Best Replacements After Bears Lose Starting Safety to Cowboys

Vonn Bell Chicago Bears

Getty Free agent safety Vonn Bell would be a good fit in Chicago.

Bye-bye, Ha Ha. After one season with the Chicago Bears, starting safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix has signed a one-year deal with the Dallas Cowboys.

It was announced late Friday evening that Clinton-Dix would be joining the Cowboys after his representation, SportsTrust Advisors, shared the news on Twitter. A year ago, Clinton-Dix signed a one-year, $3 million contract with the Bears, and he’ll be making a bit more after a solid season in Chicago. Clinton-Dix will be making $4 million in his new deal with Dallas, with $2.5 million guaranteed.

His exit comes as no surprise, although Clinton-Dix did take to Twitter a week ago to drop a cryptic hint that suggested he could be returning to Chicago, so Bears fans were on the fence about his potential return. With Clinton-Dix finding a new home in Dallas, the Bears need a new starting safety to complement their current All-Pro safety, Eddie Jackson. Fortunately, there are still some affordable options on the market. Here are the three best fits:

Tony Jefferson

Jefferson, who turned 28-years-old in January, comes with an injury history that should be considered. He started just five games for the Baltimore Ravens last year, and his last two seasons have both ended in surgeries. He had surgery on his ankle to end his 2018 campaign, and he had season-ending surgery on his knee after tearing his ACL in 2019. He has been recovering ever since.

Bears wide receiver Allen Robinson recently retweeted a video of Jefferson working out, showing support for the former Ravens safety, saying: “This the grind ppl don’t see! Ya comeback gone be strong.”

Jefferson responded to Robinson, simply saying: “Facts bro.”

Jefferson has just four interceptions in his seven seasons in the league, but he also has eight forced fumbles and four fumble recoveries in that time, so a pairing with Jackson could have definite ball-hawk potential — if Jefferson recovers fully, of course. He’s a risk, but he could be an affordable one well worth taking.

Vonn Bell

Bell is someone the Bears could potentially afford, and he would be a solid contributor to this already-dangerous Chicago defense. He has an estimated market value of $4.5 million, per Spotrac. He is excellent against the run (Pro Football Focus gave him an 89.5 grade against the run in 2019), and, like Jefferson, he would be more of a box safety.

Bell had a good season in 2019, starting 13 games for the New Orleans Saints. He had 89 tackles, five fumble recoveries, two forced fumbles, and his first career interception. Bell is young — he’ll be 26 in December — and his scant injury history gives no cause for concern.

The former second-round pick out of Ohio State has an estimated market value of $4.5 million per year, but he reportedly just turned down more than that from the Saints, so whether or not he’ll come to Chicago for a decent price remains to be seen.

Eric Reid

The Bears have gotten a little older this free agency period, signing three players over the age of 30. Reid, who was recently released by the Carolina Panthers, will be 29 years old this December. Despite being the oldest option listed here, Reid is durable, and he still has a few quality years left. He has never missed more than 10 games in his seven-year career, and he remains one of the better tacklers at the safety position.

Pro Football Focus ranked Reid as second among all safeties in the league in solo tackles last year. He had 97 solo and 130 combined tackles in 2019, which is excellent. One knock against Clinton-Dix was missed tackles, so Reid could be a solid — and affordable — addition to this Bears defense.

Whether he would be paired with Reid, Jefferson, or Bell, Jackson would very likely get to return to the free safety, field-roaming tendencies that made him an All-Pro in 2018.

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