3:36pm: In an unfortunate turn, further tests revealed that Ertz has suffered a season-ending knee injury (Twitter link via Ian Rapoport of NFL Network). In addition to McBride and Anderson, the Cardinals have veteran Maxx Williams available on the practice squad. That trio will be hard-pressed to replicate Ertz’s production, as he now turns his attention to rehabbing for 2023.
8:56am: The Cardinals won yesterday’s battle of the backup QBs against the Rams, but lost a key member of their offense. Tight end Zach Ertz was carted off the field midway through the contest, and he is now facing a significant absence.
Ertz was seen wearing a knee brace after the game, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter, who adds that the veteran is expected to miss multiple weeks (Twitter link). The Cardinals do believe, on the other hand, that Ertz’s ACL is intact, which would mean the worst-case scenario has been avoided. More testing will be done today.
Ertz was dealt from the Eagles to the Cardinals last season as Philadelphia committed to Dallas Goedert as their top tight end. The 32-year-old thrived in his new environment, starting all 11 regular season games he played in, along with the team’s playoff loss. His production in the second half of the campaign – 56 catches for 574 yards and three touchdowns – made him a strong candidate for a new deal.
That came together in March, with Ertz inking a three-year, $31.65MM contract. The former second-rounder remained an important member of the Cardinals’ skill-position group early in the year, receiving at least 10 targets four times in the first six weeks while No. 1 wideout DeAndre Hopkins was suspended. In total, Ertz (who had yet to miss a game this year) has totaled 406 yards and four touchdowns on 47 receptions in 2022.
In his absence, rookie Trey McBride is likely in line for an increased workload. The second-rounder logged a 91% snap share yesterday, by far the highest such mark of the season. The Colorado State product has only made four catches on the season, so he is unlikely to command the attention Ertz did, especially with Hopkins now available. Veteran Stephen Anderson could also see more work offensively, after primarily playing on special teams.