Videos by OutKick
Eagles tight end Zach Ertz wants out of Philadelphia, but still showed up to camp presumably to avoid paying massive CBA-mandated fines. GM Howie Roseman gave the media a very media-friendly answer when asked about his star tight end’s future in Philly.
“When you talk about Zach, it doesn’t take a lot to get him here. He cares so much about this team and this city. Just really good to see him out there,” Roseman said. “When you talk about the guys that are here and the kind of player that he is and you think about our young skill position group and having a Pro Bowl player like that on your roster players can learn from, it’s huge for us.”
Ertz, a three-time Pro Bowler with one season left on his current deal, reportedly “hasn’t forgotten or forgiven” the team for tanking in 2020. A teary-eyed press conference in which he said goodbye to Eagles’ fans in January led to a flurry of stories about possible landing spots in the Spring. But nothing ever materialized—not a trade, not a contract extension, nothing but a ‘wait and see’ game.
Now, just weeks before the season, the feeling around the league is one of apathy. Why trade anything of value for a player that you can just pick up next season for free? Maybe a heavy-contender looking for a very specific upgrade to tight end could use Ertz for a Super Bowl run, but NFL teams typically prefer to just develop younger, cheaper guys they already have under contract than go big game hunting. And the Eagles have no incentive to move him besides his $12.7 million cap hit, but at this point, that money couldn’t be spent very efficiently on the 2021 season anyways. All that’s left is cutting Ertz, which, to high-powered executives in a game of chicken, feels like waving the white flag, which they presumably hate to do.
Ertz could still be moved during the season, which is even more rare in the NFL, but could happen if a team suffers an injury and needs a competent replacement quickly. Otherwise, it looks like both the Eagles and their star tight end may simply be headed for an awkward final lap together. Ertz is coming off a down year, so if he really shines this season despite the distractions, the effort could set him up for one last big contract in the twilight of his career elsewhere. And that’s incentive enough.