photo by: theeagleswire.usatoday.com
With another loss Sunday coming at the hands of the Pittsburgh Steelers it is fair to assume the Eagles are a let down this year. Should they even bother with trying to win the division? A playoff berth will almost certainly end in a loss and more disappointment for eagles fans everywhere. If your like me and don’t see the birds flying high this year you might already be looking ahead to next year. With the Eagles currently being an estimated $68,000,000 over the 2021 cap things look bleak heading in to the future there will be no extra money to bring in free agents next year the onus must be put on drafting. Whether you believe in Howie’s ability to draft good players or not that will be the only option next year and frankly a different conversation for another day.
With Zach Ertz demanding a new contract, wanting to be paid like Kittle, having a heated verbal confrontation with the GM, and lack of production this season what would make the Eagles want to extend him? Through 5 games this year Ertz has a total of 20 catches on 35 targets,135 yards and 1 TD, not bad but definitely pales in comparison to Kittle who through only 3 games has a total of 23 catches on 28 targets, 271 yards, and 1TD. With two less games Kittle’s production and efficiency top Ertz. Don’t forget about the other tight end the Eagles have in 25 year old Dallas Goedert who through 3 games this year has a total of 13 catches on 18 targets, 138 yards, and 1TD. While also being a better run blocker than Zach Ertz is as well as being more dynamic after the catch 68 of Dallas’ 138 yards are from YAC (yards after the catch) opposed to Ertz who has 34 of his 135 yards come from YAC. Even though Dallas missed 2 games so far this year he has more yards and the same amount of TD’s as Ertz, all while being five years younger and the #2 tight end on the team imagine if he got all the targets Ertz did.
While Ertz has been a long time favourite of Carson Wentz this season has looked different, is something missing? There is a clear disconnect with them which shows up in games only having a 57% completion rate when throwing to Ertz is the lowest of his career with the next lowest being his rookie year where caught 63% of passes thrown his way. Through Ertz’ career he has varied in this statistic but no other year has been this bad; 2013=63%, 2014=65%, 2015=66%, 2016=73%, 2017=67%, 2018=74%, 2019=65%. A fair question to ask is Ertz getting older and slowing down or is the disconnect mental? Regardless neither of those will help you get a new contract.
Ertz is 29 now and will be 30 in November with only one year on left on his contract after this year, if the Eagles do not plan on resigning him I believe it would be best to move on form him at the trade deadline. The Eagles would free up around $5,000,000 in cap space for next year which we established earlier they desperately need. The Eagles have to make a decision on who they want to extend Ertz or Goedert they can not keep them both and both have expiring contracts in 2021. With that said I would personally go with the tight end that is five years younger and gives you more after the catch along with better run blocking not to mention they wont have to pay Goedert what they would have to pay Ertz who believes he should be paid like the #1 tight end in the NFL. So if the Eagles come to the same decision it would be wise to move on from him this year with a probable loss next week to the ravens that would put the Eagles at 1-4-1 which would almost guarantee they don’t make the playoffs if the played in any other division in football, luckily for them they play in the NFC east. Even though a playoff berth is still possible I don’t think this team will do anything if they get in. I believe it would be wise to look forward to the future and re-build this aging line up.
As it stands the trade deadline will be November 3rd, the Eagles need to be sellers this year and come out of this season with more draft picks the roster is getting very old and they are way over the cap next year moving Ertz will help in both of those concerns and could really help a contending team. With that said the Eagles will need the right offer, yes I think they should move on from Ertz but not for anything less than a 2nd round pick. Of course theres options for a player swap or player plus picks deal but if its just picks I could not let him go for anything less then a 2nd. Ertz is having a down year but he is arguably the third best tight end in the NFL behind Kittle and Kelce, the Eagles goal is to get better long term if they move on from Ertz for a 4th round pick for example it just is not worth it at that point I would just keep him for next year and re-sign Goedert and let Ertz walk after his contract. The Eagles still have to compete next year and with the way Howie has been picking a later round pick would not contribute to the team, leaving them worse off and still approximately $63,000,000 over the cap (if they make no other moves).
Some potential landing spots for Ertz would be Seattle, Arizona, New England, and the New York Jets. All of the teams mentioned have a 2nd round pick in the 2021 draft. Seattle who could be one piece away from winning it all this year would be a good fit, Olsen’s deal is over after this season and the tight end room in Seattle is less then ideal, giving Russ a security blanket while having DK over the top and Locket in the middle would make the Seahawks offence unlimited. Seattle has been known not to value there picks as highly as other teams in the past. Arizona has a chance to go farther then some people may think while they might be more than one piece away it has been clear watching them this year the offence needs more reliable options for Murray. Hopkins has been great but they can not rely on him making 10-15 catches every week to win Ertz would come in right away and provide another threat on offence forcing the defence to chose between doubling Hopkins or Ertz either way the other should flourish, both players are used to being doubled this would make everyone more dangerous in the Cardinals offence. The Cardinals traded for big name pass catcher in the offseason and it worked out great maybe they do it again and find similar success. The Patriots proved two years ago they are willing to move on form a 2nd round pick with no problem trading for Sanu. Ertz is miles ahead of the player Sanu is and was at the time of the trade so the Pats shouldn’t have a hard time letting go of a 2nd for Ertz. If they do trade for Ertz and they decide to pick up Bell the Patriots offence would now consist of Cam Newton, Zach Ertz, Le’Veon Bell, Julian Edelman, and Sony Michell. Making them contenders once again while paying almost nothing for superstar players, seems like a Belichick move to me. Finally the Jets they are no where close to contending but Joe Douglas came form Philadelphia and there is a good possibility he still loves Ertz and the Jets are one of the few teams who can actually pay Ertz what he wants in a extension. The Jets need all the help they can get offensively and Ertz has proven to be a great option for young quarterbacks whether they keep Darnold or draft a new QB both would love to have Ertz around. the Jets also have an abundance of picks next year with two 1st round picks and two 3rd round picks so they might be a bit more willing to move on from there 2nd round pick.