At long last, the tight end market underwent significant change this year. George Kittle and Travis Kelce signed new deals, raising the position’s ceiling to $15MM per year. Zach Ertz would be in line for a contract in that neighborhood.
However, the Eagles and their Pro Bowl tight end have hit a bit of a snag. Philadelphia’s latest Ertz extension offer came featured less guaranteed money than its previous proposal — submitted in November — and the negotiations have come to an “abrupt halt,” Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports (on Twitter).
The Eagles and Ertz resumed negotiations in late August, but the sides were evidently talking last year as well. Philly’s most recent Ertz offer was worth less over the next four years than Austin Hooper‘s four-year, $42MM Browns deal, Rapoport adds. Ertz is under contract through the 2021 season, so this would mean the final two years of his current contract and the first two new years do not quite measure up to Hooper’s then-record contract.
This does not mean the Eagles are closing the book on extending Ertz, with Mike Garafolo of NFL.com tweeting the team is still open to revisiting the issue. Ertz, 29, is set to make base salaries of $6.7MM and $8.3MM in 2020 and ’21, respectively. He signed his five-year, $42.5MM contract in 2016. Its $8.5MM-AAV figure now ranks seventh among tight ends entering the 2020 season. No guaranteed money remains on Ertz’s deal; Kittle just signed for $40MM guaranteed.
Although the Eagles drafted Dallas Goedert in the 2018 second round, they have multiple injury issues at wide receiver. Neither Jalen Reagor nor Alshon Jeffery expected to be ready to play in Week 1. This stands to increase the Eagles’ reliance on Ertz. So, it would be surprising if the team did not re-enter negotiations with its eighth-year tight end fairly soon.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.