Jeff Heath will be a free agent this Spring and with a new coaching staff in place, looks to be heading for a new football team. However, if the Cowboys valued depth at the safety position and solid special teams play, bringing Heath back is the right decision.
He’s a player that was overexposed as a starter in the Jason Garrett era and a symbol of the Cowboys reluctance to invest anything of substance to upgrade the position. Though he has his warts, he’s made some valuable plays for the Dallas Cowboys. In the proper role, he can still be effective for you.
Bringing Jeff Heath back would be a solid insurance move if you were to draft a safety with a premium pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. As it can often take a bit of time for rookies to get up to speed, the Dallas Cowboys could utilize Heath and the rookie draft pick in a rotation until the new addition was ready to take over full time.
In 2018, Jeff Heath struggled with tackling. Per Pro Football Focus, he lead the NFL in missed tackles. In 2019, however, he bounced back really nicely despite playing with injuries to his shoulder throughout the 2019 season.
In 2019, Heath lead the NFL in tackling efficiency per Pro Football Focus, which tracks the number of tackle attempts per missed tackles. Among players who played at least 219 snaps in 2019, Heath led all safeties in tackle efficiency with 30 attempts per missed tackle. The next player on this list was Minnesota Vikings Safety Anthony Harris who is expected to receive a big pay day in free agency this year as the top safety available.
It’s easy to look at Heath’s play and be left underwhelmed with what he brought to the table during his tenure with the Dallas Cowboys. Though he made plays for the Cowboys, he was generally limited in what he could do on the football field. Though, in a more limited role as a backup safety and special teams player, Heath brings a level of reliability to the table and a lot of experience.
If the Cowboys do invest in the safety position this offseason either in free agency or the draft, they’d still be smart to bring Heath back to playa reserve role. You can’t have too much solid depth on your roster. Having veterans like Heath and Sean Lee can be incredibly valuable when a starter is lost to injury. Jeff Heath shouldn’t cost a lot to bring back and that’s a move the Cowboys need to make.