There are a number of unanswered questions surrounding what the Dallas Cowboys will do with some of their free agents this off-season. One of those questions is who are they going to get to play at safety next season opposite Byron Jones with Barry Church and J.J. Wilcox testing free agency?
Enter #38, everybody's favorite player to hate, Jeff Heath.
I know everybody wants to see the Cowboys re-sign either Barry Church for J.J. Wilcox, but I'm not so sure that the coaching staff won't take a long hard look at increasing Jeff Heath's playing time and making him the starter in 2017.
The Cowboys have been wise about how they spend their money in free agency the past several years, and I expect that to continue this off-season as well.
They have a lot of holes to fill on their roster this off-season, especially on defense. I'm sure they would love to bring Barry Church back if the price is right. But, that's the thing. It always comes down to money, and Church might be able to make more taking his talents to another team.
Of course, everybody mentions that Wilcox might be the more affordable safety of the two to bring back, but can the Cowboys really rely on him to be a full-time starter? I know I don't have the answer to that and I'm not sure they do either.
So, why not roll the dice and see what Jeff Heath can do as a full-time starter. I mean, when given the chance all he does is make plays.
He may have only finished the 2016 regular season with 23 tackles and one interception, but it's the last impression he made that might make the Cowboys coaching staff seriously consider evaluating him as a starter next season.
You may have forgotten, but Jeff Heath is a big reason why the Dallas Cowboys were able to claw their way back into the game against the Green Bay Packers in the Divisional Round of the playoffs.
Heath was able to do what very few defensive backs are able to do against Aaron Rodgers, get an interception. Heath did it not once, but twice. Yes, I'm counting the second INT, even though it was overturned because of a bad penalty call by the referees.
He just has a nose for the ball and seems to always be in the right place at the right time. He is definitely underrated as a player by a lot of Dallas Cowboys fans, but not so by his teammates or the coaching staff.
The Cowboys made sure to sign Jeff Heath to a four-year, $7,671,000 contract extension last April in 2016. To be completely honest, I really liked the signing at the time and I like it even more now.
The Cowboys likely extended Heath's contract mostly because of his contributions on special teams, but also because he is a good reserve safety to have in your back pocket to use when needed.
Depending on how things work out between the Cowboys and their free agent safeties, Barry Church and J.J. Wilcox, we could see Jeff Heath see an extended role on the backend of the defense in 2017. And you know what? I think I would be okay with that.
What do you think of Jeff Heath as a starting safety in 2017?
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