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PFF has Ha Ha Clinton-Dix as the one free agent 49ers must sign

But eh, Earl Thomas?

The madness that is NFL free agency gets underway this week and money will fly, jaws will drop, and players will don uniforms you never thought possible. The San Francisco 49ers will be a part of this madness with nice surplus of cap space, so you can bet they’ll be finding a way to fill those holes.

Via ESPN, Pro Football Focus put together a list of one free agent every team in the NFL must sign. For the 49ers they picked a safety, but not the one you may expect. They went with Ha Ha Clinton-Dix. This is not the Earl Thomas signing you might have expected, but Dix is no slouch and could provide a cheaper option. Here’s what they had to say:

Clinton-Dix bounced from the Packers to [Washington] in 2018 and finished the season strong for Washington over the last nine games. His release came on the heels of great performances in coverage and in run defense, as he was the league’s 16th-highest-graded safety just from his time in Washington. Clinton-Dix has more than proved to be a movable chess piece across the defensive formation but does his best work at free safety. He would be an instant upgrade for the 49ers, who didn’t have a safety finish with a top-50 grade at the position last season.

The safety pool has deepened this last week with releases and teams not electing to use the franchise tag on certain players. A lot of fans are hoping Earl Thomas will come to the 49ers despite the hefty price tag he’ll command.

With the pool of safeties growing by the day, I’m not so sure Thomas will be as expensive as some may think. Even if he is, I don’t know if he’s the be-all, end-all at the position. I’d be fine with one of the other many safeties and Clinton-Dix is worth a look at the very least. The only red flag I’d have is he was traded during his rookie deal. Sure, it was his final year and the Packers may have known he wouldn’t be coming back, but it’s very strange that he’d be traded to Washington, then Washington wouldn’t even bother extending him when the year was up. They gave up a fourth round draft pick for this guy only to use him for a handful of months? Something doesn’t seem right there.

Then again, this is the same team who made Josh Johnson a starting quarterback, so what do I know?