The Chicago Bears are looking to replace Tashaun Gipson with HaHa Clinton-Dix. Are they upgrading?
When the Chicago Bears signed Tashaun Gipson, it immediately became clear that the team felt they landed a starting strong safety in free agency. The details of the contract have not been released yet, but it can be assumed at the very most, it is a lateral move, but Gipson could very well be cheaper.
So with the direct replacement potentially coming, how have the two compared? For this post, we are going to look at the past three seasons. This is a significant enough sample to tell us what the player is about but also gives us the recent play, as these two have aged and are not quite the same as their prime years.
We touched on what the Gipson signing meant for Eddie Jackson, as Gipson is a player who has played 52% of his snaps as a free safety over the past three years. Eddie Jackson is known as a rangy free safety, but his deep safety role dropped from 72% to 51% from 2018 to 2019.
Over the past three seasons, Clinton-Dix played 62% of his snaps in the high safety role, and his three-season total matched his 2019 usage next to Eddie Jackson.
So, if the Bears use Gipson similar to how he has been used in recent years, it would mean 10% less free safety duty than Clinton-Dix. That is not back to the 72% deep safety role that Jackson had, but it does offer more snaps per game as a playmaking center fielder.
If Gipson is going to play in the box more, he will have to show well as a tackler, and against the run in the box. This is a reason why Clinton-Dix had to play deep. However, Clinton-Dix has seven missed tackles in the run game while Gipson has 11. Gipson does have more overall run stuffs, but Clinton-Dix had a better run tackle efficiency rating than Gipson. Clinton-Dix had a 23.9 rating to 12.6 for Gipson.
However, it should be worth pointing out that Gipson has a 3.6% run stop rate, while Clinton-Dix has a 1.9 run stop rate. When Clinton-Dix sticks his head in, he makes the tackle more often, but Gipson is closer to the ball more.
They are only going to get so many run defense snaps, so to take Gipson, who is more active but misses more, over Clinton-Dix, who picks and chooses as a run defender, may not be a huge difference. How do they compare against the pass?
Clinton-Dix has much more misses but is more active in the passing game. Overall, Clinton-Dix has an 11.7 tackle efficiency rating, and Gipson had an 11.6 tackle efficiency rating against the pass.
Gipson has a ten tackle efficiency rating over the past three years, while Clinton-Dix has a 10.7. They are similar as tacklers, without much difference to be noted.
If you want to move Eddie Jackson to the deep field a bit more, you need a player more active in the run game. Gipson has his issues, but he is active.
Advanced Passing stats
Tackling only matters if you give up the catch. Gipson has a 52% completion rate allowed, Clinton-Dix had a 66% rate. Clinton-Dix was targeted every 19.6 snaps while Gipson was targeted every 17.6. Gipson’s average depth of target was 13 yards down the field, while Clinton-Dix was 10.
Over the past three years, Gipson has allowed 5.5 yards after the catch per reception, while Clinton-Dix has allowed 5.6 yards after the catch per reception.
Clinton-Dix has a 5.4 TD allowed rate and a 9.2 interception rate. On the other side, Gipson has a 4.6 touchdown allowed rate to an 8.6 interception rate. Gipson has fewer picks, but has 0.14 pass breakups per target, compared to 0.10 for Clinton-Dix. He made more plays overall on the football.
Lastly, it is worth noting Gipson has eight penalties over the past three seasons, while Clinton-Dix has four.
You could argue with Gipson you are getting potentially more boom, with a little more bust. Gipson is more active overall with plays on the football, run defense activity, and coverage. However, Clinton-Dix still comes in with a similar tackle rate, more interceptions, and less injury risk.
It is fair to think that Jackson will play more high safety, but you would have thought a more prominent box safety would have been brought in. Still, in Gipson, the Bears are getting a cheaper player that is plug and play with no drop off from Clinton-Dix and does not change much to the defense.