Since the end of the 2020 season, or even during the 2020 season, it seemed like a foregone conclusion that Zach Ertz was headed toward a divorce with the Philadelphia Eagles. While teams have reportedly called the Eagles about Ertz, Philadelphia is now keeping Ertz to begin the 2021 season. Despite Ertz staying in the NFC East, could the Minnesota Vikings make a move for the veteran tight end?
In all likeliness, the Eagles still have Ertz on their roster due to the fact that no team wants to give up much for him. Ertz has seen a decline in his performance in recent years and he holds a cap hit of $12.7 million in 2021. Nevertheless, some teams may elect to make a move for Ertz to address their need at the tight end position.
For Minnesota, getting Kirk Cousins a reliable target at the tight end position could possibly be in the cards. With the clock ticking down to the regular season, here is how the Vikings could trade for Ertz before Week 1 gets underway.
Why The Vikings Could Pursue Zach Ertz
In Minnesota’s final preseason game, Irv Smith Jr. — who is expected to have a breakout season in 2021 — suffered a knee injury that will require him to undergo surgery before the season begins. When speaking about the timetable of his return, Mike Zimmer was unable to give an estimate of when Smith could return to action. Smith has a meniscus injury that could see him return in a few weeks or even miss the season.
While I wouldn’t go out of my way to acquire a tight end if I were the Vikings, Ertz could make sense. The absence of Smith will allow Tyler Conklin to start at tight end for Minnesota.
Conklin is an unproven tight end, but he’s received a ton of buzz in the offseason from Zimmer. Outside of Conklin, Minnesota doesn’t have much depth at the tight end position. With roster cuts taking place right now, maybe they elect to sign someone that is released to provide them with depth until Smith returns.
Despite the illogical logistics of trading for Ertz, the Vikings could be suitors for Ertz for the right price.
What Would It Take To Get Ertz?
Seeing that the Eagles still have Ertz on their roster, they have been asking for a decent price for the experienced tight end. With Dallas Goedert proving he is capable of handling the starting duties in Philadelphia, Ertz is expendable moving forward.
For the Eagles to trade him, they’re going to have to lower their asking price. I don’t believe any team trades anything more than a fifth-round pick (at best) for Ertz right now.
Ertz is coming off a season where he missed five games, he’s no longer a premier tight end in the NFL, and he will count $12.7 million against the cap in 2021. Not to mention, he’s a free agent in 2022, so his price should be lowered even more since he could be a rental. Trading for a 30-year-old tight end that isn’t as effective as he once was seems far from an ideal move.
With that in mind, once again, I don’t envision a team surrendering anything more than a fifth-round pick (at best) for Zach Ertz right now.