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June 13, 2021

What they're saying: Latest Zach Ertz trade rumors, and some free agent QB options for Eagles

Eagles NFL
Zach_Ertz_Eagles_Rams_NFL_Kate_Frese_092020 Kate Frese/for PhillyVoice

Philadelphia Eagles tight end Zach Ertz.

Following the last two weeks of Eagles OTAs, the team's offseason has suddenly come to a grinding halt, with players now having off until training camp thanks to the decision to cancel mandatory minicamp, which was supposed to to take place last week.

Now, we wait.

But the players returning to South Philly isn't the only thing that will be on the minds of Eagles fans this summer. They'll also be waiting on a few potential moves to get made, which could include some new faces being in attendance when camp arrives. After some rosters moves last week, including the release of undrafted quarterback Jamie Newman, left the team with just two QBs on the active roster, they're obviously going to need to add one (or more) before the start of camp.

We'll get to that in a bit, but there are other moves to be made. For example, the team could still be looking to add a cornerback to start on the outside opposite Darius Slay, with guys like Steven Nelson still being available on the free agent market. They also could (and are expected to) part ways with Zach Ertz, by trade if at all possible. 

That's where we'll start today's edition of What They're Saying, with a look at the latest teams being linked to the veteran tight end, before moving onto a look at some free agent quarterbacks who could be brought in to fill out the depth chart.

Let's dive right in...

Buffalo dip?

Anthony Marino | Buffalo Rumblings

One team that has been linked to Ertz for some time now is the Bills. There were rumors that a deal could come before (or at) the NFL Draft. That obviously never materialized— and the Bills do have a couple of young tight ends already on their roster — but the rumors have not stopped. 

The latest comes from Josina Anderson... 

It has been almost six weeks since the conclusion of the draft, but the speculation around Ertz and the Bills continues. A recent tweet from ESPN’s Josina Anderson sounds as if there may still be some questions in Buffalo. 

Fans could read into this tweet a number of ways, as it sounds like a few dots are being loosely connected between the Bills and the Philadelphia Eagles. The team may want to up his value by throwing Buffalo into the mix to entice someone else to pull the trigger. The player and his agent may be trying to force the team’s hand, too. There could also be legitimate interest from the Bills.  []

Other frontrunners for Ertz

Maurice Moton | Bleacher Report

Over at Bleacher Report, Maurice Moton took a look at three teams who are considered "realistic" landing spots for Ertz. They all have their own merits and reasons why a deal there might make sense, as he outlined in a recent post.

Ertz has drawn interest from at least three teams, per ESPN's Jeremy Fowler. Among the potential suitors, the Carolina Panthers, Tennessee Titans and Indianapolis Colts are realistic landing spots. 

The Panthers have already shown an interest in bringing in competition for Ian Thomas. They signed Dan Arnold and selected Tommy Tremble in the third round of this year's draft. Ertz is more accomplished than any tight end on Carolina's roster. He could become a reliable safety blanket for quarterback Sam Darnold, who's settling into a new system.

Even though the Titans just acquired wideout Julio Jones, general manager Jon Robinson told reporters that the team is "still monitoring" the tight end position. Keep in mind, Tennessee lost tight end Jonnu Smith to the New England Patriots in free agency.

Colts quarterback Carson Wentz has a connection with Ertz from their shared time with the Eagles.  []

Obviously, the Colts have been one of the top potential landing spots for Ertz given his connection not only to the quarterback but to head coach Frank Reich as well. The interesting one there is the Titans. With the weapons they already have, adding Ertz, who should be due for a bounce-back season after the worst of his career in 2020, would make offense somehow even more ridiculous than it already is. 

Better than Tebow

Jeffri Chadiha |

Over at, Jeffri Chadiha ran through a list big moves that NFL teams should make during the remainder of the offseason, and he came away thinking an Ertz-to-Jacksonville deal makes sense.

I mean, they're willing to give Tim Tebow a shot, so... 

Jacksonville Jaguars trade for Zach Ertz

This is one of those situations that makes too much sense. The Philadelphia Eagles have been shopping Ertz for months. The Jaguars don't have a legitimate receiving threat at that position and are so desperate for help that they're giving Tim Tebow a look. Joining a bottom-feeder franchise probably wouldn't be enticing for Ertz at this stage of his career -- he turns 31 in November -- but he would be a significant upgrade in talent. He had a combined 204 receptions between the 2018 and '19 seasons. Ertz's career-worst production last year (36 catches for 335 yards and one touchdown) also had plenty to do with injuries, erratic quarterback play and the overall dysfunction that plagued the Eagles. And let's repeat this for emphasis: The Jaguars signed a 33-year-old former quarterback who hasn't played in a regular-season game since 2012 to audition at tight end, which happens to be a position he's never played.

Somebody is eventually going to make a move for Ertz, and the Buffalo Bills have been rumored as a sensible destination, as well. If the Jaguars want to be serious about putting as many weapons around rookie quarterback Trevor Lawrence as possible, they'd be wise to add Ertz to the mix.  []

Tebow jokes aside, that last part is the real reason why having a guy like Ertz would be big for the Jaguars. A reliable target over the middle can be a huge comfort for a rookie QB — and Ertz could certainly be that for Lawrence. 

Some more options

Lorenz Leinweber | Sports Illustrated

In addition to the Colts and Bills, Lorenz Leinweber of Sports Illustrated listed two other teams that could make sense for Ertz as a trade destination, especially if the price is right. 

Los Angeles Chargers

Signing Jared Cook and drafting Tre’ McKitty should not prevent the Chargers from looking to find a replacement for Hunter Henry. With quarterback Justin Herbert playing the way he did as a rookie and several areas of need addressed this offseason, Ertz would be another weapon for the young quarterback. They have to maximize the opportunity and make use of their $20 million in cap space as long as Herbert is still on a cheap rookie deal.

Arizona Cardinals

Another team with a promising quarterback on a rookie deal, the Cardinals currently have Maxx Williams as their top tight end. While their scheme does not utilize the traditional in-line tight end as much as others, Ertz has found a lot of success from the slot in the past.  []

RG3rd string?

Liam Jenkins | Philly Sports Network

I told you we'd eventually get to the quarterbacks. Over at Philly Sports Network, Liam Jenkins took a look at a handful of names who could make sense for the Eagles — and this last one was by far the most intriguing, especially given who the current starter is.

Robert Griffin III

RGIII‘s career will forever be documentary worthy. From his rise to stardom as a Baylor Bear to his burst onto the NFL scene in Washington and every bump and bruised that then followed, Griffin is still potentially a player worth considering.

After going 1-4 with the Browns in 2016 and spending 2017 out of the league, Griffin caught on with the Baltimore Ravens where he would spend the next three years as a backup. He filled in for Lamar Jackson in week 12 against the Steelers last year and looked extremely rusty, but he does have a near-identical skillset to Jalen Hurts, if not a little tarnished.

If the Eagles want a QB who can run the same offense and present the defense with similar challenges as a scout team member would, then RGIII could be a former all-pro veteran who could walk in and share plenty of knowledge with those around him.  []

Backup options

Dave Zangaro | NBC Sports Philadelphia

Dave Zangaro of NBC Sports Philly also had RGIII listed among his potential options for the Eagles. But here are two others who could fit the bill as a third-string QB option behind Hurts and Joe Flacco.

Nick Mullens

Mullens 26, went undrafted out of Southern Mississippi back in 2017, which means he was once teammates with Eagles wideout Quez Watkins. Mullens signed with the 49ers after going undrafted and spent the last few seasons in San Francisco, splitting time on its practice squad and active roster. Mullens has played in 19 games with 16 starts. He has a 5-11 record, completing 64.5% of his passes for 4,714 yards with 25 touchdowns and 22 interceptions. He started eight games with the Niners last year and had a 2-6 record. [...]

Sean Mannion

Mannion, 29, was a third-round pick back in 2015 out of Oregon State. He spent the first four years of his career with the Rams but was in Minnesota the last couple seasons. In his career, Mannion has played in just 13 games and has thrown 0 touchdowns and 3 interceptions.  []

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