“Seems as if there was a need to report during the weekend that the Eagles were exploring a trade for Zach Ertz,” Kracz writes.
“The Eagles have been exploring a deal for their Pro Bowl tight end for many months, though maybe some of that exploration has been put on the back burner, because of, well, you know, the quarterback taking front and center.”
“An NFL source said that the Eagles have had conversations about Ertz with the Seattle Seahawks and Indianapolis Colts.”
Of course, this latest report isn’t necessarily surprising:
As the Carson Wentz trade saga continues, some people around the league also expect the Eagles to explore options with Zach Ertz, who is bracing for a change of scenery via release or trade, per source. Perhaps Philly could include him in a Wentz trade package to maximize value
— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) February 13, 2021
The Colts have already been linked to Ertz this offseason, and there was a prior report that Indianapolis was requesting more players/draft compensation from Philadelphia along with former franchise quarterback Carson Wentz to meet the Eagles’ current high asking price—with a logically included additional player being Ertz.
Ertz recorded 36 receptions for 335 receiving yards (9.3 yards per reception average) and a touchdown reception during 11 starts in 2020—having dealt with a high ankle sprain.
The former 2013 second round pick of the Eagles has 561 receptions for 6,078 receiving yards (10.8 ypr. avg.) and 36 touchdown receptions in 117 career games (82 starts).
Of course, Colts head coach Frank Reich has familiarity with Ertz, as Reich served as the Eagles offensive coordinator from 2016-17 and helped coach the former Pro Bowl tight end—who was a key cog of Philly’s Super Bowl winning offense in 2017.
The 30 year old is set to have a $12.5M cap hit for the Eagles in 2021 and is likely to be either released or traded at some point this offseason.
Entering his 9th NFL season and having recently been hindered by injuries, the Colts presumably wouldn’t surrender significant draft compensation for Ertz regardless:
Personally, I wouldn’t trade for Ertz if I were some other team. Injuries/decline/age/etc would be enough to keep me from taking on his 8.25M salary, much less also give up something to get him. Buuuut… the Seahawks paid Greg Olsen $7M last year for some reason, sooooo… ♂️ https://t.co/aDyJMPIkKi
— Jimmy Kempski (@JimmyKempski) February 14, 2021
However, he could be thrown into any Carson Wentz deal to the Colts as a potential ‘trade sweetener’, or Indianapolis could elect to trade for him in a separate deal all together—with marginal draft compensation given up.
“I think we need one or two big playmakers at tight end or wide receiver,” Irsay said. “I think we have a real interesting mix there, it’s amazing when you see #87 and #10 for Kansas City, and the things that they do and that sort of thing, it’s remarkable.”
“I think again, we’re looking offensively for a couple of more playmakers.”
Now, the former 2018 NFL First-Team All-Pro, Ertz, is neither currently Kansas City Chiefs’ freak tight end Travis Kelce nor quite his old star self, but he could theoretically provide the Colts more of a dynamic player at the position—if he can stay fully healthy.
If trading for Ertz, the Colts may elect to rework his contract, providing him an additional year on his current contract—while lowering his potential 2021 cap hit. The franchise could also ‘wait-and-see’ if the Eagles ultimately release him anyways—without having to surrender any draft compensation at all and signing him purely on Indy’s own terms.
What is clear though is that the Colts do have interest in Ertz this offseason, but it’s just a matter of what means Indianapolis could choose to eventually acquire him with.