As the start of the 2020 season neared, contract talks between the Philadelphia Eagles and tight end Zach Ertz started and ended rather quickly. Ertz did not come off as optimistic about his future in Philadelphia.
Ertz had the worst year of his career in 2020, with 36 catches for 335 yards in 11 games. He has been an easy trade candidate this offseason. But Eagles GM Howie Roseman has been hesitant to pull the trigger. Ertz was given permission to seek a trade, but no one apparently met a third or fourth-round pick asking price. So the idea he’d stay with the Eagles has started to surface.
The Eagles started Phase 2 of offseason work on Monday. At this point everything is voluntary, but Ertz was not present. He also has no apparent plans to show up to any offseason work until his situation is resolved.
The Eagles did not draft a tight end, so Ertz remains No. 2 on the depth chart behind Dallas Goedert. On that note, he’s an asset to the offense they’re trying to build around Jalen Hurts. Ertz’s only leverage, since he is under contract like Roseman felt he needed to remind everyone, is to not show up. If he’s willing to carry a holdout into June minicamp, which is considered mandatory and thus subject to fines, then the plot will thicken.
What will the Eagles do with Zach Ertz?
For the Eagles, it makes sense to not do anything with Ertz until after June 1. A trade or release between now and then, according to Over The Cap, would leave behind a little less than $7.8 million in dead money with $4.95 million in cleared cap space. A designation as a post-June 1 cut would clear $8.5 million in cap space, with $4.2 million in dead money. A trade would carry the same cap implications. He could be cut now and designated a post-June 1 cut, but at this point the Eagles aren’t likely to do that. So they’ll wait until after June 1 to move on, or keep Ertz against his current will until further notice.
Even if many Eagles’ veterans will be there, Ertz skipping this week’s offseason work is easily expected. And surely, no surprise to the team. A move to allow him to move on still feels inevitable.