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