Zach Ertz‘s time in Philadelphia could be coming to an end and very soon. The Eagles are in a bit of spot as they try to figure out how to fix there substantially negative salary cap situation heading into the 2021 season. Putting some players on the trade block and getting some of those contracts off the books is one way that the former Superbowl winning franchise (back in 2017 by the way) can get back in the positive. While the recently benched franchise Quarterback Carson Wentz has been in the limelight of trade rumors coming out of Philly, there are other players getting some attention too.
Already gearing up for a possible split from the team after not being able to land an extension on his contract this past season, Ertz could very well be traded or cut this offseason. He’s already been linked to trade offers including Carson Wentz and could even be dealt solo.
But who are some teams that could really use a guy like Zach Ertz? Let’s get into it.
I’m going to get these guys out of the way first. I know some are thinking like, “Why are the Colts always linked to every player?” To start, you have to understand that the Colts will have ton of cap space next season. The Colts currently sit at having the 2nd most salary cap space projected for the 2021 season at nearly $79 million. This allows major flexibility to sign whatever player at any position that they decide and the Colts could use a tight end like Ertz. Plus, it has already been rumored in reports so far.
Let me just get this out of the way though. I am a Mo Alie-Cox truther. I believe if he got the respect that he deserves and got a lead role, he would dominate. But I’ll save that for another article. Zach Ertz landing in Indy would be a solid move. Ertz is already better than anyone currently on the roster (outside of MAC). Even at 30 years old and coming off of one of his worst seasons in terms of production, he still laps guys like Jack Doyle and Trey Burton with ease. Burton is also expected to hit the free agent market as well which could open up a spot to slide Doyle back and allow Ertz to start.
The Colts, in my opinion, have never seemed to be sold on Doyle as a legit starter. He’s had to split time with other tight ends like Dwayne Allen, Coby Fleener, and not long ago to Eric Ebron. Landing Ertz, even after putting up career lows in 2020 with just 335 yards on 36 receptions (72 targets) and just 1 touchdown despite playing in 11 games, would be an upgrade over Doyle, who only had 251 yards and 3 touchdowns while playing playing in 14 games in the same season.
Man, I have to admit that I was really pulling for Greg Olsen to really do some damage after he signed with the Seahawks last season. Apparently, Father Time and the Injury Bug had other plans and jumped my guy last season. Olsen managed to only play in 11 games but was hardly a factor in the Seahawks passing attack. Averaging just 3 targets a game during the regular season, Olsen was a back seat driver with D.K. Metcalf, Tyler Lockett, and Chris Carson soaking up much of the targets from Russell Wilson. Olsen would eventually miss 4 weeks of the season with a foot injury (ruptured plantar fascia).
With Olsen retiring at the conclusion of the season and with tight ends Will Dissly being just as ineffective and TE’s Jacob Hollister and Luke Wilson set to hit free agency, the Seahawks could use another weapon at the position to add to the Seahawks arsenal. Russell Wilson has shown how deadly he can be but he’s lacked a safety valve guy who he can target to get him out of trouble when the deep threat options are being covered. Ertz, if used properly, would be a welcomed addition to the Seahawks organization.
The Seahawks could opt against it though as Wilson is currently unhappy with the Seahawks front office lack of attention to keeping him upright on the field. The Seahawks offensive line was ranked 14th overall by PFF, and according to the report, the Seahawks ranked 16th in pass protection which was its highest ranking since Russell Wilson has been the QB. That still didn’t stop Wilson from being smacked up behind the line, being sacked the 3rd most among Quarterbacks last season with 47 sacks. The Seahawks front office may have to appease their disgruntled QB with better protection up front as well as look to continue to add weapons in the offense.
New York Jets
I know this one might be a shocker but the Jets could use a guy like Zach Ertz. They do have Chris Herndon on the team already but he hasn’t been the most reliable option in the Jets offense. Herndon only played one game in 2019 before going down with rib and hamstring injuries after coming back from a 4 game suspension after picking up a DWI charge in the same season. Last season didn’t fair any better for the young tight end as he was a non-factor, collecting just 287 yards and 3 touchdowns on just 46 targets.
Going to a more bona-fide weapon in Ertz would help out whatever QB that comes through that door if rumors of Sam Darnold being trading eventually come to fruition. I don’t believe is cooked at just 30 years old, but its obvious the Eagles offense has hit a fork in the road and needs to make some changes and it looks like a “going younger” approach seems to be the direction the front office looks to move in. Plus the Jets have the cap space to offer him another contract if he can prove that last season was just a fluke. The Jets are projected to have the 3rd most salary cap space per Spotrac.com, so they could make a real offer to Ertz after proving he is back on the up and up.
The Jags are another team that the Eagles should target to make a trade with if they want to move Zach Ertz this offseason. The Jags failed experiment with former Bengals tight end Tyler Eifert has seemingly run its course. The Jags could infuse their offense, with some believing that Trevor Lawrence could be coming to Jacksonville from the 2021 NFL Draft, with a more reliable tight end to help bring whatever rookie QB they decide to pick up to speed. Ertz, combined with DJ Chark and Lavishka Shenault would be nice fixture to the overhauled Jags passing game.
Like the Jets, the Jags have more than enough cap space heading into the 2021 offseason to fill the need at TE with more comparable talent. Per Spotrac.com, the Jags will have $79.6+ million in salary cap space, the most in the NFL next season. With a rookie QB in Trevor Lawrence (or whoever they decide to bring in), having a capable tight end like Ertz with the other pass catching weapons mentioned already would provide an easier road for development for the new signal caller. Plus, this would allow Ertz to earn a new deal with a new team that has a ton of cap space to make that happen.
The Wrap Up
The Eagles are looking to offload a ton of contracts so that they can get back to some normalcy on the salary cap and Ertz is just one of many Eagles players that will be moved to make this happen. It doesn’t seem likely that teams will be looking to trade under the premise of the Eagles high asking price. If anything, if the Eagles don’t move off from their “outstanding” asking price, teams could be more prone to waiting them out to release Zach Ertz instead. If Howie Roseman plans to move Ertz’s contract off the books, he may have to bite the bullet and accept an interested teams asking price instead.
One way or another, Ertz’s days in Philly seem to be coming to an end whether its through a trade or being released.