Zach Ertz

Bills Notes: Ertz, Hyde, Kincaid, Murray

The Bills became the first team to add a tight end in this year’s draft by trading up to select Dalton Kincaid. Seen as one of two first-round talents at the position, the Utah product figures to have a prominent pass-catching role in Buffalo’s offense for years to come.

The Bills came close to making a veteran addition at the position in 2021, though, when Zach Ertz was on the trade block. The three-time Pro Bowler ended up being dealt to the Cardinals, but Buffalo was named as a suitor at the time. Their efforts nearly yielded a swap, as Ertz recently confirmed.

“I was getting traded out of Philadelphia,” the 32-year-old said, via Mark Gaughan of the Buffalo News“There were a couple teams extremely interested, Buffalo being one of them. It was almost a done deal, but it just didn’t get over the finish line.”

Here are some other notes out of Buffalo:

  • Micah Hyde is entering the final year of his deal, and he appears set to play without a new contract in hand beyond 2023. General manager Brandon Beane indicated (via Gaughan’s colleague Jay Skurski, on Twitter) that no extension talks have taken place with the 32-year-old. Hyde has been a mainstay on the backend during his six-year tenure with the Bills, but a neck injury limited him to just two games in 2022. The Pro Bowler is due $7.2MM this season, and has a scheduled cap hit of $10.57MM. His replacement after going down – Damar Hamlin – has been cleared to return to football activities and has two years remaining on his rookie contract.
  • Part of the reason the Bills traded up to secure Kincaid was the run on receivers coming off the board in the middle of the first round, as Beane noted during an appearance on Sirius XM Radio (audio link). Buffalo moved up from No. 27 to 25 (ahead of the TE-needy Cowboys) to secure Kincaid, widely seen as the best pass-catcher in a loaded class at the position. The latter should represent a strong fit in the team’s offense given how his skillset compliments that of Dawson Knox, though the Bills went until the fifth round to secure a receiver prospect, something many expected them to add earlier given their need for secondary pass-catching options.
  • The latest addition to Buffalo’s backfield, veteran Latavius Murray, came as a surprise to some. However, he knew he would be headed to Orchard Park by the third day of the draft given his agreement with Beane. The latter revealed, via Ryan Talbot of, that he elected not to draft a running back on Day 3 on the condition that Murray would agree to sign with Buffalo. The 33-year-old should have a rotational role in the Bills’ new-look backfield after inking a one-year, veteran minimum pact.

Michael Bidwill Included Kyler Murray In Cardinals’ HC Search, Expects QB To Make Early-Season Return

Jonathan Gannon said he would not have taken the Cardinals’ HC job without Kyler Murray in place, and the Pro Bowl quarterback contributed to the search that produced Gannon.

Michael Bidwill mentioned Murray, Budda Baker and Zach Ertz as players he spoke to regarding the team’s long-running coach search, doing so while also speaking with multiple sources outside the team. Bidwill said during an appearance on the Dave Pasch Podcast (via’s Darren Urban) he wanted to get a “360-degree view” of each GM and HC candidate.

The owner also tried to downplay concerns Murray might not be available until around midseason. Bidwill expects the franchise QB to be back earlier than the midpoint, calling the fifth-year passer “ahead of schedule.”

I think [his return] is going to be earlier than this midseason, so hopefully it’s toward the beginning of the season, but I don’t want to put any specific dates,” Bidwill said. “There could be setbacks; the progress could slow. But he’s a young man; it looks like he is a fast healer. Things are going well. Let’s hope that keeps going the way it is.”

Months away from Murray being receiving clearance post-ACL surgery, it is too early to put a precise return date on this process. The Cardinals gave extensions to Murray, Steve Keim and Kliff Kingsbury last year. The result led to a staff overhaul, but Murray’s contract stipulates he will not be going anywhere. The 25-year-old passer, whose $46.1MM-per-year deal runs through 2028, has been rehabbing every day at the team facility, per Bidwill.

This offseason will feature two NFC West teams not having their preferred starter at workouts, with Murray and Brock Purdy set to be sidelined throughout the Cards and 49ers’ programs. Separating Arizona in this area: Colt McCoy is also recovering from an injury that stands to sideline him for at least part of Arizona’s offseason workouts. Bidwill said McCoy is coming back from an unspecified injury that “will limit him in the offseason.”

McCoy battled arm and calf issues, leading him to IR, but he resurfaced to replace Murray for two games prior to the latter’s ACL tear. McCoy sustained a concussion in Week 15, his third start of the season, and did not play again. The Cardinals cleared their backup from concussion protocol in Week 17, but McCoy experienced more symptoms during a practice soon after and finished the season out of action. The longtime backup will turn 37 before Week 1; his two-year, $7.5MM contract runs through the 2023 season. The two QBs to finish the season for the Cards — David Blough and Trace McSorley — are eligible for restricted and unrestricted free agency, respectively.

Minor NFL Transactions: 11/26/22

The league’s minor moves and standard gameday elevations for Week 12:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Carolina Panthers

Chicago Bears

Cincinnati Bengals

Cleveland Browns

Denver Broncos

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Kansas City Chiefs

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Chargers

Los Angeles Rams

New York Jets

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

Tennessee Titans

Washington Commanders

Injury Updates: Dobbins, Allen, Cardinals

J.K. Dobbins sat out the first two games of the season, started for four weeks, and then landed on injured reserve. When Dobbins was knocked out by knee surgery in mid-October, it was thought that the Ravens running back had suffered another knee injury. However, the second-year pro made it clear that the surgery was precautionary and intended to remedy lingering effects from his earlier surgery.

“I didn’t get reinjured,” Dobbins told WBJ in Baltimore (via NFL Network’s Mike Giardi on Twitter). “I didn’t hurt myself or anything. I just didn’t feel like myself… there was some stuff in my knee that was making me not feel like myself. It wasn’t bad, I could have still played … but I’d rather be 100 percent going into the playoffs towards the end of the year so I could really do what I really need to do to help the team win.”

Following a rookie campaign that saw him finish with more than 900 yards from scrimmage and nine touchdowns, Dobbins collected 162 yards and two touchdowns this season before landing on injured reserve. As Gus Edwards continues to nurse a hamstring injury, the Ravens have leaned on Kenyan Drake to lead the RB room.

More injury notes from around the NFL…

  • While it sounds like Josh Allen won’t be forced to miss any time with his elbow injury, the Bills quarterback will be on a strict recovery plan for the foreseeable future. Allen told reporters that Buffalo’s training staff has him “on a specific plan that we’ll follow,” and CBS’s Jonathan Jones assumes that the quarterback will continue to be limited in practice going forward (Twitter link). Allen did acknowledge that his right elbow will eventually get back to normal, so there shouldn’t be any lingering concerns about his outlook moving forward.
  • Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray said he originally injured his hamstring in Week 8 against the Vikings, played through the injury, and then tweaked his hamstring in Week 9, per ESPN’s Josh Weinfuss on Twitter. Colt McCoy got the start for Arizona in Week 10, and while Murray acknowledged that he’s feeling better, he’s still unsure of his status for Monday night’s game against the 49ers.
  • Cardinals tight end Zach Ertz will miss the rest of the season with a knee injury. While we don’t know any specifics surrounding the injury, coach Kliff Kingsbury told reporters that the veteran will undergo surgery (per Weinfuss on Twitter). Ertz totaled 406 yards and four touchdowns on 47 receptions in 2022 before getting sidelined. The veteran inked a three-year, $31.65MM contract with the Cardinals this past offseason.
  • Leonard Fournette suffered a hip pointer last weekend, but the Buccaneers running back isn’t expected to miss any time following the team’s Week 11 bye, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter (via Twitter). Rookie Rachaad White got an extended look filling in for Fournette, finishing with 22 carries for 105 yards.
  • Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker told reporters that he’s still dealing with an ankle injury suffered in Week 1 that forced him to miss four games. “I’m not at 100%, no,” the veteran said (via Jesse Newell of the Kansas City Star). “I mean, if I was at 100%, I’d be doing full steps on my kickoffs or going back to the 10 yards and everything.” Butker has struggled in the five games he’s played in 2022, connecting on only 62.5 percent of his field goal attempts. He’s also missed a pair of extra point tries over the past two weeks.

Cardinals TE Zach Ertz Out For Season

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.

Cardinals, TE Zach Ertz Closing In On Deal

After acquiring tight end Zach Ertz in a trade with the Eagles in mid-October of last year, the Cardinals are finalizing a new multi-year deal for the nine-year veteran, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network. The three-year deal is set to keep the 31-year-old among the top-10 highest-paid tight ends in the NFL. 

Ertz is a three-time Pro Bowler who set the NFL-record for single-season receptions for a tight end in 2018 with 116 catches, which trailed only Saints’ receiver Michael Thomas for the league lead among all pass-catchers. Ertz was consistently productive in Philadelphia, recording five-straight seasons with at least 800 receiving yards.

After taking a back seat role to the Eagles’ younger tight end Dallas Goedert, the Cardinals made the move to acquire Ertz and watched him thrive in the new system. Ertz’s 11 games in Arizona in 2021 showed far more production than the 11 games he played in Philadelphia the year prior. With wide receivers Christian Kirk and A.J. Green set to hit the free agent market this week, locking down their tight end was a must.

The three-year deal will be worth $31.65MM with a guaranteed amount of $17.5MM. The annual average value of $10.55MM ranks 10th among NFL tight ends, just below David Njoku, Mike Gesicki, and Dalton Schultz, who got franchise tagged for $10.93MM. With this deal Ertz is now off the crowded tight end market, along with the three who were tagged. Remaining options for those looking for tight ends are C.J. Uzomah, Robert Tonyan, Evan Engram, and Will Dissly.

Cards’ Owner Bidwill On Kyler Murray

With everything starting to appear copacetic between the Cardinals and quarterback Kyler Murray, the team’s owner, Michael Bidwill, addressed the 24-year-old’s future in Arizona, as reported by Jeremy Cluff of The Arizona Republic. As Murray heads into the fourth year of his rookie contract, Bidwill discussed the possibility for an extension. 

“The window has just opened for a contract extension. Certainly he’s part of our long-term plan,” Bidwill said of Murray. “Most of the big ones are done further down the road, I think Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen were done in the summer time. Others were done in the summer time. So we’ve got time, but they’re complicated.”

In respect to the turmoil surrounding the quarterback, Bidwill claimed he and Murray have had “good conversations non-stop.”

While expressing the desire to give Murray an extension out of his rookie contract, Bidwill also acknowledged that the team has other priorities, as well, namely bringing back some key free agents. He recently expressed his wishes to retain two-time All-Pro linebacker Chandler Jones, which Jones appeared scoff at. Newcomers to the desert, running back James Conner and tight end Zach Ertz, have both made it known that they would be more than happy to consider re-signing.

Other Cardinals headed to free agency include running back Chase Edmonds, wide receiver Christian Kirk, veteran wideout A.J. Green, and tight end Maxx Williams. While the Cardinals’ owner is looking forward to finding a way to keep Murray long-term, he and his front office have some work to do in the meantime.

Zach Ertz Interested In Cardinals Return

A contract impasse overshadowed Zach Ertz‘s final two seasons with the Eagles, and the former Pro Bowler is headed for free agency coming off a bounce-back stretch with the Cardinals.

Ertz, 31, indicated (via’s Darren Urban) he would “love to” be part of the next Cardinals team. This will be Ertz’s first crack at free agency, however, and likely his final shot at a notable payday. He angled for a top-market deal back in 2020.

I still feel like we have unfinished business as a team. I would love to be part of it,” Ertz said, before adding the Cardinals have “a lot of good players who are free agents as well.”

Arizona has a higher-profile free agent in Chandler Jones, who submitted a trade request ahead of his contract year. Jones played out that deal and returned to the Pro Bowl following an injury-limited 2020. The 31-year-old edge rusher profiles as the Cards’ top free agent. Arizona also faces interesting decisions on its skill-position corps, which could lose a few key cogs come March. James Conner, Chase EdmondsChristian Kirk and A.J. Green are unsigned for 2022. Maxx Williams is also set for free agency, thinning out the Cardinals’ tight end corps. The team faces these key choices as Kyler Murray becomes eligible for a monster extension, having played the necessary three seasons to reach this stage.

The Cards reside as a middle-of-the-pack team in terms of projected cap space, though it is very early. The Eagles redid Ertz’s deal three times, and the contract voids ahead of the 2022 league year. After a down 2020, Ertz returned to form to help the Cardinals to the playoffs. The ninth-year tight end caught 56 passes for 574 yards in just 11 games as a Cardinal, finishing the season with 763 yards total and five touchdowns. Since moving to Arizona in 1988, the Cardinals had not enjoyed much luck generating notable tight end production. Ertz changed that, with his Cards yardage total surpassing every other tight end’s single-season output from the franchise’s Arizona era.

A few starting tight ends will hit the market in March, barring extensions. Evan Engram, David Njoku, Gerald Everett, Eric Ebron, C.J. Uzomah and Robert Tonyan are among the names without 2022 contracts. Rob Gronkowski is also a free agent, but he is unlikely to depart Tampa if Tom Brady opts to return for a 23rd season.

Eagles Trade Zach Ertz To Cardinals

The Eagles have traded Zach Ertz to the Cardinals in exchange for rookie cornerback Tay Gowan and a 2022 fifth-round draft pick. The deal is now official, per an announcement from both clubs. 

Ertz was once a focal point of the Birds’ offense, but he’s been relegated to a secondary role behind Dallas Goedert. With one season left on his five-year, $42.5MM deal, the Eagles have turned their surplus into draft capital.

Ertz, 31 in November, finished last year with just 36 catches for 335 yards and one touchdown in eleven games. But, before that, he made three straight Pro Bowls from 2017-19 and consistently performed as one of the league’s best tight ends. So far this year, the veteran has 18 catches for 189 yards and two scores in six games.

The Cardinals will be responsible for the rest of Ertz’s salary, approximately $5.5MM. Ideally, he’d like an extension, but that’ll probably wait until after the season. The Cardinals will have much more utility for Ertz than the Eagles did since they’ve lost Maxx Williams for the year with a knee injury. Ertz will likely serve as the Cardinals’ TE1 with support from Darrell Daniels and Demetrius Harris. Beyond those three, the Cards also have Ross Travis on the practice squad, though they released recently-acquired veteran Richard Rodgers from the p-squad in the wake of the Ertz deal.

After years of iffy tight end production, Arizona finally has a proven option in Ertz. He delivered 335 yards in a down year with five missed games; the Cardinals haven’t had a TE top 600 yards in a season since moving to Arizona in 1988.

Vikings Inquired About Dallas Goedert Trade

The Eagles have two tight ends with uncertain futures. Dallas Goedert is in a contract year. So is Zach Ertz, who spent the offseason as a trade candidate. This situation prompted the Vikings to reach out.

Despite Ertz being the one viewed as on the way out all year, the Vikings proceeded to contact the Eagles on Goedert’s potential availability, Jeremy Fowler of notes (ESPN+ link). This inquiry came following the news Irv Smith Jr. would be out for the season.

Smith’s injury altered the Vikings’ tight end plan, but they did not end up prying away Goedert, who is due for free agency in 2022. It is unclear if the Vikes also asked about Ertz, whose $8.5MM 2021 base salary made him a less enticing trade piece than Goedert ($1.2MM).

Regardless, the Eagles opted to keep Goedert, leading the Vikings to acquire Chris Herndon from the Jets in August. Through five games, Herndon does not have a catch with Minnesota. Tyler Conklin, whom the Vikings selected in the 2018 fifth round, has stepped in as Smith’s primary replacement.

Goedert is currently on the Eagles’ reserve/COVID-19 list after testing positive this week. He will not play against the Buccaneers tonight, putting Ertz back in the TE1 position he held for years. At multiple junctures this offseason, Ertz believed he would be traded, Fowler adds. But he and Nick Sirianni established a strong rapport. This and the Eagles viewing themselves as a potential contender scuttled an offseason trade.

Seven-point underdogs against the Bucs, the Eagles would drop to 2-4 with a loss. That could put an Ertz trade back on the front burner. This year’s deadline is Nov. 2. Ertz and the Eagles were unable to come to terms on an extension during an acrimonious 2020, and his value has since declined after a down 2020 season. Ertz, however, changed his tune about staying in Philadelphia. Just before the season, Ertz said he wanted to retire an Eagle. The 30-year-old pass catcher has 14 receptions for 160 yards and a touchdown this season.