The future is uncertain for every NFL player, but it’s not often when one comes out and flat out says it.
At least, not the way Packers safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix just did: “Right now, I’m playing each and every game like it’s my last. I don’t think I’m going to be here,” Packers safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix told Jason Wilde of the Wisconson State Journal. “That’s how I look at it. I just (have to) be honest with myself. You’ve got to play it game-by-game. Whether we’re losing by 60 points, you’ve got to go out there and perform.”
Clinton-Dix is in the fifth-year of his rookie scale deal, but hasn’t received the type of long-term extension he was hoping for during the offseason and doesn’t sound like someone who is expecting to get one any time soon. Now, Clinton-Dix is left to play out his contract and hope Packers management has a change of heart. As a first-round draft pick in 2014 and Pro Bowler in 2016, you’d think the Packers would want to keep Clinton-Dix around for a while. However, there have been no public indications that the team has an interest in doing so and it’s evident Clinton-Dix isn’t feeling the love.
Of course, the Packers could ultimately keep Clinton-Dix with an exclusive franchise tag or even follow in the Bears’ footsteps and slap the transition tag to see how things go on the open market. Green Bay could do this for up to three years, but it would be costly – both from a financial standpoint and from the perspective of a player-team relationship. Just ask Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell about how it goes living life on the tag.
No wonder Clinton-Dix sees this as the end of the road.
“This is my biggest interview of my career,” Clinton-Dix said. “So I’ve got to perform, regardless of what the record says.”
The record says the Packers are 2-2-1, but a plus-1 point differential suggests things are thisclose to being drastically different. Green Bay is a dropped Kyle Fuller interception in Week 1 and a Daniel Carson missed kick away from being 1-3. The Packers have walked a thin line and should probably be fortunate to be where they are after five games.
There was a popular belief that everything would be hunky-dory in Packersville after an offseason that saw change in front office philosophy, a different look on the coaching staff, and the return of a healthy Aaron Rodgers. But through five weeks, there hasn’t been as much to smile about in the land of cheese as one might have predicted before the year. As for the rest of the NFC North, Green Bay stumbling out of the gate has us wearing devilish grins.