After one of the most disappointing week 17 games in recent memory in which the Eagles threw in the towel to end their season, a teary-eyed Zach Ertz sat down in what many presumed would be his final press conference as an Eagle. Of course, that’s not what he wanted. Failed contract negotiations and injuries led to what was an uncharacteristically poor season for the Stanford product and one that many presumed would see him traded during the coming offseason.
At face value, it’s pretty easy to see. The Eagles clearly value Ertz higher than the offers that they’ve been receiving, but not high enough to give him a new contract. The refusal to budge from their asking price is leading them into a tricky spot. Ertz is in his contract year and if he still isn’t over the moon with how the team have treated him, then we could be in-line for more of the same when it comes to on-field production. Or, they could always cut the former Pro-Bowler, but at that point, they would’ve refused actual returns on potential trades that help them, only to let Ertz choose his own path.
There is a chance that Zach Ertz will be happy to return and gunning to get back to his old ways. All he really wanted, that we know of, was to feel valued. Perhaps the Eagles refusing to trade him will at least restore some of that faith from his perspective, knowing that the team won’t simply part ways with him for pennies and that he does have actual value.
On the contrary, there’s the Dallas Goedert situation. The much younger tight end is also in a contract year but told reporters that a new contract had been discussed, although his focus is solely on playing football. This has to sting for Zach Ertz. He watched on as Travis Kelce and George Kittle both received huge paydays, sat patiently as his name was dangled to every team in the NFL for months, and now has to smile as Goedert receives a potential payday? It doesn’t exactly sound healthy.
The truth is that the outcome of the Zach Ertz saga doesn’t matter, so long as there is one. The longer that Howie Roseman binds his hands, the messier the outcome projects to be. It would be foolish for the Eagles to let Ertz walk having turned down offer after offer, netting the same amount of saved cap space anyway, but keeping him around knowing he doesn’t want to be there could prove to be just as damaging.
It’s not like Howie Roseman has told reporters that he’s committed to keeping Ertz. Sure, he’s stated that the record-breaking pass-catcher is still in his prime, but has said he’ll do what’s best for the franchise in that very same breath. There doesn’t seem to be certainty in either camp, only logic. It makes just as much sense to retain Ertz as it does to trade him, providing the dominoes fall in the right direction. But refusing to commit to either path could lead the Eagles and Zach Ertz to a messy goodbye that he frankly doesn’t deserve.
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