It’s restructuring season as the Eagles try to wriggle their way under the cap. But one man who likely won’t be getting a shiny new deal is Zach Ertz. Trade rumors have been swirling for quite some time and now it looks as though a deal could be completed as early as this week. However, there’s a chance that it may not look like your conventional trade.
Trading Zach Ertz could be harder than you think
According to Over The Cap, the Eagles have -$34.297 million in space based on a projected ~$204 million salary cap. Once the salary cap is finalized, their 2020 roll-over cap space of $22.8 million will factor in and the team will have about -$11.497 million in space.
There are still players that can be restructured and, if you read Mike Kaye’s breakdown, the Eagles can save another ~$43 million through that method. In that scenario, that will give the Eagles roughly $31.5 million in cap space. What was once dead is alive again.
It was presumed that Ertz would be packaged with Wentz to the Colts in the eventually blockbuster trade for the former franchise QB. That didn’t happen.
What if teams are balking at the idea of giving up draft capital for a 30-year-old tight end coming off a 300-yard season? Yes, Ertz can still perform at a high level and was the subject of an anemic offense, but teams could be wary of giving up capital for someone who seemingly “checked out” after contract negotiations didn’t go his way.
This is not me bashing Ertz. Just trying to look at it from the other side. If teams don’t want to give up capital but are maybe interested in trading away a player they were going to cut anyway, it’s possible the Eagles are waiting until they get under the cap so they can take on another salary.
If this is the case, which teams that should be interested have a player to swap?
I came across this idea from an article on Yahoo Sports about a possible player-for-player swap: Zach Ertz for John Brown.
Trading/cutting Brown would save the Bills $7 million. After an injury-plagued year and the emergence of Gabriel Davis, the Bills could be looking to move on from Brown.
The cap hit would need to be restructured for Philly to be interested, but this is a deal that can work for both sides.
Yes, Brown is older (31 next month) but he still has 4.35-4.4 speed. If the Eagles plan on moving from Marquise Goodwin, they could look to replace him with another burner.
The Saints are somehow in a deeper cap hole than the Eagles are and they’ve already begun the cutting/restructuring of veterans to help get under the cap.
Two of the veterans cut were Jared Cook and Josh Hill, both of whom are tight ends.
They are said to be dangling linebacker Kwon Alexander in trade talks to get some sort of compensation for him rather than cutting him. Both options will save the Saints $13 million in space.
With second-year tight end Adam Trautman ready to step up to the TE1 role, the Saints could use a player like Ertz as a sure thing at tight end while Trautman continues to develop.
An Ertz/Alexander swap makes sense for both teams given needs at those positions, but a big-time restructuring of Alexander’s contract would need to happen.
The Jaguars have a ton of cap space and the number one overall pick, which will 99% be spent on Trevor Lawrence. A new QB, well any QB for that matter, will surely need adequate protection on the line, right?
Well, it’s possible the Jaguars trade former All-Pro guard Andrew Norwell if he doesn’t take a pay cut.
If he does get made available, the Eagles should be all in. While they are possibly moving on from their own elite-level guard in Brandon Brooks, they could think twice about that move if Norwell comes in.
An OL of Mailata, Norwell, Kelce, Brooks, and Johnson is immediately a top line in the league. Even if the team moves on from Brooks, plugging in Seumalo or Herbig could still make this line top of the pack.
As with the other two players, a restructuring would need to happen. But an upgrade over Tyler Eifert in Zach Ertz could be very intriguing for Urban Meyer and his new potential franchise QB.
The Zach Ertz to Green Bay rumors have been swirling since early Fall, even with Robert Tonyan in the fold.
With Tonyan hitting restricted free agency, it’s very possible the Packers have a big void at tight end.
Preston Smith’s name is being thrown around as trade bait with his 2020 production dipping from what we saw in 2019. They also have Rashan Gary in the fold, so Smith could be moved this offseason.
With the Eagles desperately needing EDGE/LB help, a move for Smith could help in that regard. He’s only 28 and is a very productive player. An Ertz/Smith swap (and restructure) could be the best option for “same face, new place” situations.
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