9:59am: According to Corry (via Twitter), Ertz’s five-year deal can actually max out at $45.8MM rather than $42.5MM, since it features $300K in Pro Bowl incentives and $3MM in Pro Bowl salary escalators. Corry adds (via Twitter) that the extension includes an $8MM signing bonus.
9:24am: The Eagles have locked up their top tight end through the 2021 season, announcing today in a press release that Zach Ertz has signed a five-year extension with the team. Ertz’s rookie contract had been set to expire at the end of the 2016 season.
According to Joel Corry of CBSSports.com (Twitter link), Ertz’s new five-year deal is worth $42.5MM, which works out to $8.5MM annually. Corry adds (via Twitter) that the pact also features $20MM in guarantees, though some of that money is guaranteed for injury only — the fully guaranteed portion totals $13,138,527, which includes his $1,138,527 base salary for 2016, plus an additional $12MM.
Per Over the Cap, only three tight ends in the NFL – Jimmy Graham, Julius Thomas, and Rob Gronkowski – are earning a higher annual salary than Ertz’s $8.5MM figure, so the extension makes the 25-year-old one of the highest-paid players at his position.
Ertz, the 35th overall pick in the 2013 draft, became extension-eligible for the first time this offseason, and did so at the perfect time. The Stanford product has become an increasingly bigger part of the Eagles’ offense over the course of his first three seasons, and is coming off a career year, having caught 75 passes for 853 yards in 2015.
Under new head coach Doug Pederson, it’s not clear yet whether Sam Bradford, a Chip Kelly acquisition, will be re-signed, or if the Eagles will go in another direction at quarterback. But either way, Ertz figures to be one of the top targets in Philadelphia’s passing game in 2016. Besides Ertz, only Jordan Matthews had more than 400 yards receiving for the Eagles this past season.
A report last week indicated that the Eagles were interested in getting contract extensions done for tackle Lane Johnson, defensive end Vinny Curry, and Ertz, so with the tight end’s new deal finalized, the team figures to shift its focus to securing Johnson and Curry. With a fifth-year option year available for Johnson in 2017, after his rookie contract expires, the Eagles will likely prioritize an extension for Curry, who can reach the open market in a matter of weeks.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.