Who’d have thought? After an offseason of endless reports citing that the departure of Zach Ertz from the City of Brotherly Love is imminent, it looks as though he might be staying after all. Of course, this isn’t exactly a bad thing, providing that all of the problems embedded into his relationship with the team have been resolved. Some might still be confused as to why the team keep Ertz, but the concept is a simple one.
The Eagles clearly value Ertz higher than any other team in the league. If they didn’t, he would’ve been traded a long time ago. With the rest of the NFL watching on as Howie Roseman swats trade offers from all over the place, they work something out. Why would they give up valuable assets and take on a huge cap-hit when they could just sign him next year as a free agent anyway? Those in dire need of a tight end ticked that box by the end of the NFL Draft and outside of a few select teams who still lack pass-catching prowess, the demand for Ertz is now a lot less than it once was.
The issue most have with keeping Ertz around is that he is in his contract year. Not only that, but he’s going to cost a whopping $12.7M, money that could be used to strengthen another area of the team *ahem* CB2. That’s all well and good, but if none of the candidates are viable (for instance, Steven Nelson wanting to secure himself a lovely new Lambo before the season starts), then it doesn’t really make much difference.
The Eagles 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. It saves them cap space, but again, to what end? It’s very much waving the white flag after refusing to move from that hill.
Depth at the position is still relatively thin. Sure, the Eagles are in talks with Dallas Goedert, but as a TE1 he’s struggled with soft-tissue injuries and the occasional case of the dropsies. With Zach Ertz out of the way, there’s only Richard Rodgers and a slew of positional converts behind him. If Goedert were to go down, it’s not like the Eagles are well prepared to replace a player of Goedert’s versatile ability. Richard Rodgers is a stout blocker with *some* receiving potential, while Ertz trends in the opposite direction, creating an equilibrium in the event Goedert does get hurt.
For Ertz, there is incentive to stay. All he really wanted, that we know of, was to feel valued. If Nick Sirianni can light a fire under him, there’s no reason he wouldn’t be more comfortable. If Howie Roseman can level with him, extract the venom, and help him see that one more big year is going to see him get that contract and long-term security he feels he deserves, then it’s easy to see why he’d want to remain.
Ertz made it clear form the get-go that he wanted to stay in Philadelphia. His teary press conference said a thousand words. Having watched opportunities to move on from the franchise tight end evaporate, the Eagles have backed themselves into a corner. If they need cap space urgently for a late move, it’s a probable goodbye. Otherwise, there may be one last rodeo for Zach Ertz and the Philadelphia Eagles, and with motivations to save his NFL career and redeem a woeful 2020 campaign, it might even have a happy ending.
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