The Ertz Conundrum
With the news last week of Travis Kelce and George Kittle signing historically massive deals, the next big tight end extension to look at is the Eagles' own Zach Ertz.
Ertz has been Carson Wentz’s favorite target throughout his career and has even set some NFL records, including most receptions in a season for tight end. When there are any discussions about the best tight end in the league, Ertz’s name will always come up as a top-three talent at the position. The issue now is that Ertz will be looking at a deal similar to Kelce and Kittle, which could mean the Eagles would need to offer something in $50 Million over 5 years range to keep him in midnight green.
Another wrench that comes into the scenario is the young and improving Dallas Goedert. Each year Goedert has shown that he has the ability to be the teams lead at the position and could take over for Ertz if the need was ever there. I want to dive into what I think the team should do that would benefit the Eagles the best overall.
The Eagles, more specifically GM Howie Roseman, have been wizards when figuring out how to sign players to longer deals while still staying under the cap. However, at some point there is no more maneuvering and the Eagles may be coming up to that point in the next couple years with a few of the bigger contracts like Carson Wentz and Darius Slay really starting to eat the cap. Ertz could very well be a victim of this and we could see him being traded closer to the deadline to a team such as the New England Patriots or the Cincinnati Bengals. As tempting as it may be to get a first or second-round pick for Ertz from one of these teams, I would advise the Eagles to not do this. This team is at its best when they run two tight end sets with both Ertz and Goedert which allows for them to get big play and also opens up more for our now quicker wide receivers and vice versa. Having Jalen Reagor and a healthy DeSean Jackson will start to push the safeties deeper and will allow Ertz to eat in the middle of the field. Ertz could realistically have at least three to four more years of top tier production as long as the offense goes as planned. This will also allow Goddert to have weak coverage and have him get significant production as well.
Now there is only one thing that will change my mindset on this. That would be Goedert not wanting to stay as the #2 tight end for the next four or five years on the Eagles. Seeing as the Eagles have been going through a slight retooling the last couple years, it would make more sense to keep around the younger tight end that has more productive years in front of him rather than the tight end that is near the end of his prime and may decline a lot quicker than Goedert. Goedert would need to step up big for the team and Doug would have to change the offense to be able to work with less two tight end sets and lean on the young core of wide receivers on this team rather than a couple of elite tight ends.
At the end of the day, I'd say sign Ertz to a comparable deal to Kittle and Kelce unless Goedert is certain to leave after his rookie contract. At that point, I would trade Ertz this year and extend Goedert to a long-term deal and ride him as the #1 tight end in the Eagles offense.