Eagles’ star tight end Zach Ertz is under contract through 2021, but the two sides have been exploring an extension just same. After months of silence on that front, Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer says contract talks have resumed.
Given the recent developments in the tight end market, that is not altogether surprising. The 49ers agreed to a historic contract with George Kittle earlier this month, and the Chiefs reached an accord with Travis Kelce almost immediately thereafter. As Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com observes, the Eagles had been monitoring the Kittle and Kelce situations, and Philadelphia could finalize something with Ertz in the coming weeks (video link).
But as McLane points out, although the Kittle and Kelce extensions have provided meaningful comps for an Ertz deal, they also added a few complications. The 49ers and Chiefs standouts have similar average annual values ($15MM for Kittle, $14.3MM for Kelce), but there are major differences. For instance, Kelce’s deal is more backloaded — he won’t be taking home any new money in 2020 — and Kittle received significantly more in guarantees.
And that makes sense, given that Kelce is four years older and is not called upon to block as much. Ertz is a year younger than Kelce, but both were selected in the 2013 draft, and while Ertz is generally a capable blocker, he is not the force that Kittle is. Plus, Kelce (like Ertz) had two years left on his prior contract before signing his extension, whereas Kittle was entering the final year of his previous deal.
So look for Philadelphia to push for a contract more akin to Kelce’s. Philadelphia may feel even more justified in doing so given the presence of Dallas Goedert. The third-year pro has shown that he could be up to the task of replacing Ertz, and while the Eagles would like to keep both, their salary cap situation may make that more difficult. If Ertz wants to finish his career in the City of Brotherly Love, as he has repeatedly stated, he may have to accept something of a team-friendly re-up.
Speaking of Goedert, Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network says the South Dakota State product suffered a hairline fracture in his thumb earlier this week (Twitter link). Luckily, it’s not a significant injury, and Goedert could return to the field with a splint in the coming days.
The Eagles tried to further bolster their TE group by submitting a waiver claim for Andrew Vollert a few days ago, as Mike Jones of USA Today tweets. The Colts, though, had higher waiver priority and therefore obtained Vollert’s rights.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.