The Cowboys invested in their defense this offseason via free agency, but one reclamation project has been cut loose a week ahead of the 2020 season.
Veteran safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix was released on Thursday, NFL Network's Jane Slater reported. Clinton-Dix signed a one-year, $3.75 million deal with the Cowboys five months ago. The transaction was later confirmed by the Cowboys, who save $1.5 million in cap space but pay $2.25 million in guaranteed money to Clinton-Dix.
While immediate rumors would speculate the Cowboys are targeting Earl Thomas, who was recently released by the Baltimore Ravens, Slater also notes that the move doesn't mean the Texas native is coming to Dallas.
Clinton-Dix, 27, was brought in to fill the void Jeff Heath left once signing a deal with the Raiders this offseason. It reunited the six-year veteran with coach Mike McCarthy, who drafted the safety with the 21st-overall pick during his tenure in Green Bay. Clinton-Dix was traded by the Packers during the 2018 season and spent the following year in Chicago before landing in Dallas.
The surprising release may indicate the improving health of safety Xavier Woods, who has been dealing with an injured groin this offseason. However, their depth at safety may be a concern.
Darian Thompson, who started four games for the Cowboys last season, is likely for the starting role sans Clinton-Dix. Remaining options at safety are Donovan Wilson and undrafted rookie Luther Kirk.