October 15th, 2021 at 10:30am CST by Zachary Links
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 Rodgersfrom 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.
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 ESPN.com 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.
Zach Ertz‘s stint on the Reserve/COVID-19 list won’t knock him out of Monday’s game. The Eagles activated their veteran tight end today, the team announced. The team had an open roster spot, so no corresponding move was necessary.
Ertz landed on the COVID list earlier this week, but there was hope that he’d be able to play Monday night against the Cowboys (pending the results of his vaccination status/test results).
The team somewhat prepared for a potential Ertz absence when they added tight end Richard Rodgers to their practice squad earlier this week. Earlier this week, head coach NickSirianni acknowledged that the offense has to remain flexible based on Ertz’s status.
“You have to have double-plans out there. And so, without getting too much into that, it’s just everything has to be double-planned,” Sirianni said (via Chris McPherson of the team’s website). “You have to back it up of what you want to have in. Do you want to be in 12-personnel, do you want to be in 11-personnel? And so you just have to back up everything. This is just something that we’ve had to do and the nature of the business in the NFL.”
The 30-year-old has officially been relegated to a secondary role behind Goedert this season. Through two games, he has just three catches for 40 yards. This comes after a down year of 36/335/1 in eleven games, coupled with an offseason standoff with the organization. The veteran has just one year to go on his five-year, $42.5MM deal, putting him in line for free agency this spring.
September 20th, 2021 at 3:40pm CST by Zachary Links
The Eagles have placed tight end Zach Ertz on the Reserve/COVID-19 list, per a club announcement. Pending his vaccination status/test results, Ertz could still be eligible to play on Monday night against the Cowboys. But, for now, Ertz has been moved off of the roster.
The Eagles now have an additional roster spot to fill if Ertz is not ready in time for Week 3. They presently have two healthy TEs in Dallas Goedert and Jack Stoll; it’s unlikely that they’d go into Monday night without a third.
Ertz has either tested positive for COVID-19 or has been in close contact with an infected person, but his status is unclear. Ertz, 31 in November, has been relegated to a secondary role behind Goedert. Through two games, he has just three catches for 40 yards. This comes after a down year of 36/335/1 in eleven games.
The veteran has just one year to go on his five-year, $42.5MM deal, putting him in line for free agency this spring.
September 1st, 2021 at 1:38pm CST by Zachary Links
Zach Ertz has had a change of heart. In his first public comments of the offseason, the tight end told reporters that he wants to stay with the Eagles.
“This is the place I want to be, this is the place I want to retire,” Ertz said (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Mike Garafolo). “I’m moving on from everything that happened this offseason. There have been apologies…I love this city too much to burn it down.”
Ertz added that things have been “mended” with the team, so it sounds like all is well for the time being. It’s a huge turnaround from where things were just weeks ago. The three-time Pro Bowler pushed for a trade and, while he still reported to training camp, his Philly future was in doubt. The Eagles tried to oblige, but they couldn’t find a suitable deal for Ertz or his contract.
Ertz, 31 in November, is coming off of a down year. Now, with one season to go on his five-year, $42.5MM deal, he’s willing to stick it out. It remains to been seen whether Ertz will get an extension to help smooth things over, or whether he’ll be comfortable with his role in the long run. Once a focal point of the Eagles’ offense, Ertz figures to cede many of his targets to Dallas Goedert.
Zach Ertz may continue to push for a trade out of Philadelphia, but the organization is expecting him to play for the Eagles…at least for Week 1. GM HowieRoseman told reporters that he anticipates the veteran tight end being on the Eagles roster for the start of the 2021 season.
“When you talk about Zach, it doesn’t take a lot to get him here. He cares so much about this team and this city. Just really good to see him out there,” Roseman said (via ESPN’s Tim McManus). “When you talk about the guys that are here and the kind of player that he is and you think about our young skill position group and having a Pro Bowl player like that on your roster players can learn from, it’s huge for us.”
Ertz reported to training camp yesterday, but the veteran still wants to be traded. The three-time Pro Bowler reportedly hasn’t “forgotten or forgiven” the Birds for their apparent disagreements, and his decision to attend camp was presumably about avoiding fines. Of course, the Eagles would have to find a taker for Ertz, and while they’ve gotten a few bites, the organization still hasn’t found an offer to their liking.
Ertz will turn 31 in November and he’s coming off of a down year. With one season left on his five-year, $42.5MM deal, it’s hard to say whether Roseman will get what he wants. Of course, Ertz’s issues with the Eagles have been extremely public, so teams are willing to wait things out until the price comes down. Roseman’s comments from today could simply be posturing as he continues to find a suitor.
Zach Ertz has clocked in. The Eagles tight end reported to training camp on Tuesday, avoiding fines and further friction with team management.
Ertz and the Eagles have been at odds throughout the offseason. However, he still wants a trade to take him out of Philadelphia, according recent word from NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo (via Twitter). Ertz, he says, hasn’t “forgotten or forgiven” the Birds for all the disagreements they’ve had. So, just because Ertz is in the building, that doesn’t mean that he’ll be on the roster come September.
The Eagles have gotten some bites, but no one has been willing to meet GM Howie Roseman’s asking price. He reportedly wants a third or fourth-round pick, but Ertz will turn 31 in November and he’s coming off of a down year. With one season left on his five-year, $42.5MM deal, it’s hard to say whether Roseman will get what he wants. Of course, Ertz’s issues with the Eagles have been extremely public, so teams are willing to wait things out until the price comes down.
Before the drama and the down year Ertz three consecutive Pro Bowls from 2017-19. For years, he consistently performed as one of the league’s better tight ends. Even if some suitors can’t afford his cap hit, there are plenty of teams that could use a player like him.
Zach Ertz may still be pushing for his way out of Philadelphia, but that won’t stop him from attending camp. NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo reports (via Twitter) that the veteran tight end is expected to report to the start of Eagles training camp.
This echos a report from earlier this week by veteran reporter Howard Eskin (on Twitter), who noted that Ertz would indeed be attending training camp. Eskin took it a step further, noting that Ertz was “over the issues” with the organization, and the reporter believes there’s a “great chance Ertz will be on [the Eagles] at start of season.”
However, Garafolo slightly pushed back at that report. Ertz hasn’t “forgotten or forgiven” the various issues he’s had with the organization, per Garafolo, and the reporter believes there’s still a chance the tight end isn’t on Philly’s roster by the start of the season. Garafolo attributes Ertz’s decision to attend training camp to professionalism, noting that the veteran had never threatened to skip camp. Further, Garafolo says we shouldn’t read too much into the fact that Ertz has recently been working out at team facilities.
We previously heard that Ertz wasn’t going to report to the team “until his situation is resolved,” which we assumed meant he wanted a trade or his release. Ertz was given permission to seek a trade months ago, but nothing has materialized. Although there has reportedly been some interest, no one has been willing to meet GM Howie Roseman’s apparent asking price of a third or fourth-round pick.
Ertz, who will turn 31 in November and is coming off a down year, is entering the final year of his contract. 2020 was a big disappointment, but he made three straight Pro Bowls from 2017-19 and has consistently been one of the league’s better tight ends for a while now.
Ertz has one season left on the five-year, $42.5MM extension he signed way back in January 2016. The veteran lobbied for a new deal last year, but he and the Eagles could not agree on terms. Those disagreements became rather noticeable as well. Even if some suitors cannot presently afford Ertz’s $12.7MM cap number, which could cause the Eagles to finally release him, the team will likely try to work a trade for a bit longer.
Where will the 30-year-old pass catcher be come Week 1? Here are a few candidates:
The team most closely connected to Ertz this offseason, Buffalo has not received much from the tight end position in recent years. And the defending AFC East champions have lacked a higher-end receiving threat at this spot for much of its existence. Five Ertz receiving totals would eclipse the best tight end showing (726 yards) in the Bills’ 61-season history. While the Bills’ Stefon Diggs–Emmanuel Sanders–Cole Beasley–Gabriel Davis quartet leaves it well-stocked for aerial targets at present, the tight end position has come up as one the franchise would not mind bolstering.
Dawson Knox led Buffalo tight ends with 288 yards last season; the team lost Tyler Kroft in free agency and has second-year player Tommy Sweeney coming off a season in which he encountered severe COVID-19 issues. With the Bills in position to aim for a Super Bowl berth again, another weapon makes sense.
With Doug Pederson out of the NFL at the moment, the Colts serve as the reunion spot for Ertz. Carson Wentz played with Ertz for five seasons and helped him set a tight end record with 116 catches in 2018. Frank Reich coached Ertz the previous two years, and the Colts could certainly use another viable weapon — even if they figure to lean heavily on the run game.
Indianapolis re-signed T.Y. Hilton and has 2020 second-rounder Michael Pittman Jr. coming off a promising finish to his rookie season, but the team has not been able to keep injury-prone ex-second-rounder Parris Campbellon the field. Ninth-year tight end Jack Doyle and Mo Alie-Cox combined for just 645 yards last season. The Wentz trade, assuming he stays healthy for most of this season, will cost Indianapolis a first-round pick in 2022. Bringing in his former top target at a low cost would enhance the relocated QB’s comfort level and help justify the lofty investment.
This spot differs from the rest mentioned here, with the Jaguars coming off a 1-15 season and in clear rebuild mode. But Jacksonville drafted Trevor Lawrenceand has no proven tight end to pair with him. The team leads the NFL in cap space ($38MM) as well.
Exiting draft weekend, Urban Meyer expressed concern about his team’s tight end depth chart. The Jags drafted Ohio State’s Luke Farrellin Round 5 and did go on to sign Tim Tebow. While this would seemingly not be a desirable spot for Ertz as a free agent, the Jags could make sense as an unorthodox trade destination.
Ertz trade compensation would not approach what the Titans paid for Julio Jones, and even after acquiring the all-time Falcons great, the team was on the lookout for tight end assistance. The Titans lost Jonnu Smith and did not add a notable replacement. The Jones trade shows the Titans are committed to contending this season, even after losing Smith and Corey Davis. Even after a disappointing 2020 season, Ertz would provide a substantial upgrade over Anthony Firkser.
The Bills may be seeking some reinforcement at tight end. Josina Anderson tweets that “apprehensions with production [and] consistency at the Bills tight end spot are still a topic of conversation” within the organization.
With all due respect to the team’s tight ends, this assessment makes plenty of sense. Josh Allen threw for 4,544 yards and 37 touchdowns last season, but the group of tight ends barely cracked 400 receiving yards. 2019 third-rounder Dawson Knox will continue to lead the depth chart, and the 24-year-old has averaged only 25 yards per game through his first two years in the NFL (27 games).
The Bills did bring in veteran Jacob Hollister this offseason, but the veteran isn’t known for his pass-catching prowess. The organization also added undrafted free agent Quintin Morris, pairing the additions with holdovers like Tommy Sweeney and Nate Becker. Considering the lack of inspiring options, Anderson notes that the situation is “something to keep an eye on,” especially considering the availability of Eagles tight end Zach Ertz. If Buffalo ends up pulling off that kind of deal, it sounds like the current grouping of tight ends would be ready for the extra reinforcement.
“How I look at that stuff is whoever they bring in, that’s just great competition for the room,” Knox said (via Sal Maiorana of the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle). “I love that Jacob’s (Hollister) here now, he’s a great dude. No matter who they bring in, whether it’s a rookie or an All-Pro like Zach, I think it’ll be great just to elevate the competition. Iron sharpens iron and that’s a big philosophy that I have.”