May 02, 2021
The NFL Draft came and went this weekend, and Zach Ertz is still on the Eagles' roster despite reports last week that his trade was imminent, and that it would likely come before the draft was over.
Interestingly, Philly did not draft a tight end, leaving Ertz alongside Dallas Goedert on the depth chart as the top options, with a handful of training camp bodies also on the roster in Jason Croom, Tyree Jackson and Caleb Wilson.
So does this mean he's staying put?
At 31 years old, Ertz isn't exactly over the hill — at least that's what Howie Roseman thinks. Without a real second TE on the roster, maybe this means the job will remain Ertz's?
"This isn't a guy in the twilight of his career," Roseman said after the draft Saturday night. "He's a guy still in his prime. A year ago at this time everyone was talking about where he ranked with the top tight ends in the league."
"So we feel really good about the kind of player he is and we have to do what's best for our team as well and again we have a lot of respect for him and continue to remain a member of the Philadelphia Eagles, if something changes, we'll update you guys."
Ertz appeared in 11 games last season and caught 36 balls for 335 yards and one touchdown, his worst season yet. He battled injuries but also didn't play particularly well. His quarterback Carson Wentz didn't either.
The team could potentially save $8.5 million if they cut or trade him after June 1, and just under $5 million if they do so before. Financially, jettisoning the fan favorite pass-catcher seems like a no-brainer. Is that what the hold up is? Or is there a chance he lines up in Philly again?
"You just want to be fair," Roseman said. "You just want to find outcomes that not necessarily are great for the team and not good for the player, but just fair. Just stuff that everyone can kind of feel like you know what, this works for everyone. And not only in this situation with Zach, just generally I think that's the most important thing. Just knowing like we're going to be fair. We're going to work through things together. We're going to communicate. We're going to discuss them. And we're going to be up front with everybody about what we're thinking."
Finding a trade partner after 11 tight ends were drafted, and even more were signed as undrafted free agents, may prove to be a tough task. Cutting Ertz may wind up being the difficult decision the Eagles wind up making, and it may be the right one.
The rumors about Ertz's trade could have been simply hot air, as the Eagles tried to drum up some interest and failed. His release may be the only option.
Roseman has held the Eagles back by being a little bit too sentimental for players who made big contributions during the Super Bowl run but perhaps should have been let go sooner than they were. We'll see if he can buck that trend and, as he said multiple times Saturday, "do what's best for the Philadelphia Eagles."
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