Will The Raiders’ Best Safety Be A Cap Casualty?

The Las Vegas Raiders are in the middle of making several cuts to their roster in order to gain some financial flexibility. Would they actually cut Jeff Heath, their best safety from 2020?

Heath signed with the Raiders last offseason for two years, his contract was worth up to $6 million per Spotrac. The organization could cut ties with Heath this offseason, saving themselves a $3.15 million dollar cap hit with zero in dead cap. Considering how bad the Raiders need restructuring, the cut makes sense from a dollar point of view.

Adding defensive talent via free-agency will be challenging as the team will most likely be unable to land premier free agents. The more logical thing to do would be to wait for the second wave of free agency and use their valued draft picks to hopefully land some instant starters.

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What should the Raiders do with Jeff Heath?

Nevertheless, Heath’s offseason signing flew under the radar with Nick Kwiatkoski and Cory Littleton’s additions stealing the headlines. By season’s end, Heath has surprisingly emerged as the Raiders’ best safety. A far cry from his expected role of mostly a special teamer back before the 2020 season began. Johnathan Abram continued to struggle in pass coverage but he’s far from being a bust. On the other hand, Erik Harris struggled mightily overall and shouldn’t be a starting safety on any NFL team.

In pass coverage, Heath surrendered 12 completions off of 415 snaps last season. The highlight of his season coming in a much-heralded regular-season win over the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 5. He notched two total tackles and had the soul-crushing interception, going for 47 yards and helping to seal the crucial win. Pro Football Focus graded Heath’s coverage skills at 72.8 and his run defense at 65.8 for the 2020 campaign. Considering that Justin Simmons will be returning to the Denver Broncos combined with a lack of can’t-miss safety prospects, eating Heath’s contract would be a smart play.

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*Top Photo: AP Photo/Charlie Riedel

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2 thoughts on “Will The Raiders’ Best Safety Be A Cap Casualty?”

  1. I agree on everything except whether Abram could be a bust, because if he is not significantly better this year he will be out of the league after this season. Being the worst-rated safety in the NFL isn’t a recipe for job security.

    As far as Heath goes, the Raiders right now have committed about $27M to DB in 2021, which is slightly under the league average of about $28M. To have your best DB count only $3M against this number can be considered a huge bargain when other teams are paying $10-$15 million/year for top-flight safeties that in many cases are not performing commensurate with their salaries. I understand there are cuts coming, but Joyner alone cuts a big chunk of this. And the fact that Heath can be an impact player on special teams is an added bonus. I don’t think he’s even in the conversations that Gruden and Mayock are having about turning over the defensive roster.

  2. Keep Jeff Heath he plays with the Passion in which every Raider need to have he’s a play maker keep him .

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