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Jeff Heath named best contract value for a safety heading into 2018

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Pro Football Focus discusses the GOAT.

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NFL: Dallas Cowboys-Training Camp Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

There certainly has been a lot of talk about safeties lately for the Dallas Cowboys. The Earl Thomas situation is still hanging out there. Xavier Woods was injured in the Bengals game and may miss some time, including heading into the regular season. George Iloka became a free agent and was briefly a person of interest, but he’s signed elsewhere. Some of the UDFAs might make a push like Tyree Robinson. The Cowboys recently brought on a couple of safeties to take some reps and play in the preseason games. There’s been a lot of discussion about the safeties, and some movement on the roster recently.

But one man remains the same. The GOAT, Jeff Heath. We playfully call Heath the GOAT because every once in a while he comes through with a spectacular play. But in reality, having Heath is a huge blessing this season. With all the uncertainty at the position, a veteran like Heath is key.

Plus, his contract is a bargain. Pro Football Focus ranks Heath as the best contract value at safety in the league.

1. Jeff Heath, Dallas Cowboys

An undrafted free agent in 2013, Heath might not be an elite safety, but he is still a very good value player at the position, with just $450k per year guaranteed. Heath started 15 games for the Cowboys in 2017, and he produced his best season so far in coverage. He set career bests in interceptions, pass breakups and PFF coverage grade, ranking tied for 18th among safeties in the NFL with an 80.8 coverage grade. While he’s unlikely to emerge as one of the top players at the position, his price tag is perfect for the Cowboys defense.

Heath has been working more around the line this preseason with the Cowboys opting to trust Woods as their centerfielder. But with Woods’ injury, Heath may be asked to drop into deep coverage a lot more, and PFF thinks he can handle it giving him a pretty decent coverage grade.

Heath did turn in a good 2017 season. He had three interceptions and two forced fumbles, including the game-saver on Derek Carr towards the end of last year. He also had 55 tackles. Plus, he can fill in for Dan Bailey if something goes wrong. Now that’s true contract value!