If the Zach Ertz trade saga had a soundtrack, the opening ballad would be ‘Hot n Cold’ by Katy Perry. One minute a trade is imminent and the next it isn’t. NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo revealed on Tuesday that although the Eagles still intend to deal their franchise tight end, they’re not just going to do so for the sake of it.
There are a few key quotes here:
‘Worst comes to worst, we’ll ask him to come back and be a target for Jalen Hurts.’…
…’He would play out the last year of his deal, then sign an extension after he proves he can get back to what he’s doing before’.
Garafolo was going into the likely mindset of the Eagles here and this shouldn’t be a revelation. Ertz is contracted to the Eagles after all and while Howie Roseman may have done his best to butcher the relationship, keeping him on the roster during his contract year is logical if the team can’t find the value they desire.
When Ertz is at his best, he is absolutely one of the better tight ends in the league. After such a disappointing 2020 campaign and with only one year left on his deal, a repeat of last year’s blunder would all but ruin his chances of a big payday elsewhere, leaving him to head into another year of uncertainty but in totally new surroundings. Ertz has to put together an impressive campaign in 2021 and the Eagles know that even though they may not be his favorite team in the world right now, he’ll still do all he can to put up some good numbers because he has to.
‘Zach Ertz has made it clear when he made a push for a deal last year that if it didn’t get done then he’d be likely done in Philadelphia…’
‘…They are gonna hold him until they get the value in return.’
If that wasn’t clear enough, then his emotional press conference at the end of last season definitely was. Ertz made it abundantly visible that he’s exhausted every option to try and remain in Philadelphia but if the team doesn’t want him, he can’t change that. There was also a report recently stating that Ertz would prefer to be released if there was no suitor. This Garafolo report could well be a sneaky move by the Eagles to let teams know that Zach Ertz will not be available on the open market any time soon, keeping the price tag high for potential bidders.
With Hunter Henry signing a juicy new deal in New England, one has to wonder whether the Eagles are simply dangling a potential future hall of famer and asking for bidders to start coughing up the cash.
Whatever the case may be, the point Garafolo seemed to hammer home was that the Eagles aren’t going to offload him in a hurry just to save cap space. They’ve already made enough moves to give them enough leverage to at least begin the new league year with a minor level of flexibility and while the additional $4M would be nice, it’s not necessary.
It’s still unlikely that Ertz plays a snap in midnight green next year, but we just might be waiting a little longer to find out whose jersey he will be wearing by the time week one rolls around.
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