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Mailbag: Interest In Jeff Heath? Rookie Travel?

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I can't help but notice that our old friend Jeff Heath is expected to be available once again. Given that the Cowboys didn't truly address the safety position in the draft, do you think there's any chance we see him back in Dallas this season? — GREG OTIS / SHAKER HEIGHTS, OH

Nick: I don't think they're going to do that, mainly because of what Stephen Jones continues to say about hoping these young guys make the team and it would be cheaper on the cap. Heath probably would count more than $1 million. Now would it be worth it? Yeah maybe. But I don't think you're looking for him to start, but perhaps be a backup safety and special teams contributor. That sounds nice to have, but with 11 draft picks, you'd like to think they can get that player cheaper.

Rob: Cowboys VP of player personnel Will McClay was asked that very question on 105.3 The Fan after the Raiders cut Heath: "We know Jeff and Jeff's done great things for us and he went to (Las Vegas) and had a great season. But we're going to go through and look at what we have on the roster and we're going to look at every opportunity to improve us if it makes sense." Heath does have history here and he would be a solid addition to the special teams units, at the very least. But McClay did mention evaluating the current safeties on the roster. Remember, they signed three in free agency (including Keanu Neal in more of a linebacker role) and believe sixth-round pick Israel Mukuamu can transition to safety from cornerback. So I wouldn't rule anything out, but the Cowboys have already made several moves at that position. It's tough timing getting released right after the draft.

In a span of two weeks, rookies go from draft weekend to rookie minicamp. What is the transition like for them? Who arranges travel and accommodations? How do players address where to live, i.e. Frisco, Arlington, downtown? It would be an interesting introspective into going from college star to NFL rookie as well as the dichotomy of the plight late round draftees and UDFAs face. — PAUL SMETHERS / SPRING, TX

Nick: As soon as the players are picked, they've got a team on the operations staff reaching out and coordinating travel plans. Now this season is probably different than most because as of right now, not everything has been finalized from the NFL on what will transpire. It sounds like the players are coming in next week so all that has been planned with the flights and with a hotel right here on the campus, that is easy to accommodate as well. It's not just draft picks, but the undrafted rookies and any players coming in for a tryout, which has been a thing of the past but might not be the case this year.

Rob: Typically the team handles the rookies' travel here, as well as temporary lodging. In some cases, players will fly in for the rookie camp and then go straight back to campus to finish up the spring semester. Not sure exactly what next week's camp will look like yet. The pandemic has obviously altered logistics around everyday protocols for teams, so the Cowboys will continue to follow those.

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