If Pro Bowl tight end Zach Ertz becomes available, where could he wind up?
There has been consistent chatter in recent days that the Philadelphia Eagles are shopping three-time Pro Bowl tight end Zach Ertz.
Ertz, who would account for a cap hit in 2021 of just under $12.5 million, has been seeking additional compensation after fellow tight ends George Kittle (San Francisco 49ers) and Travis Kelce (Kansas City Chiefs) signed lucrative extensions this offseason.
So far, the Eagles have been unwilling to meet Ertz’s demands, which has led to some friction between the player and the front office.
It seemed possible that the difference-making TE could be moved by the Nov. 3 NFL trade deadline. But Ertz’s ankle injury, which will put him on the shelf for a few weeks, may make that objective more difficult for the Eagles.
Until he gets paid commensurate to the top players at his position, Zach Ertz’s discontent with the franchise is likely to linger, so it might benefit an aggressive team to attempt to acquire him now, when his price might be reduced due to his injury.
Here are three teams with TE needs who may jump at the chance to land Zach Ertz:
The high-octane offensive attack of the Arizona Cardinals is well documented, as quarterback Kyler Murray has taken the leap many NFL fans expected in Year 2.
The Cardinals are a respectable 11th in the NFL in points per game, but if they view themselves as a serious contender this season, they could greatly benefit from adding someone of Zach Ertz’s caliber at a position where they don’t have quality depth.
As the season wears on, opposing teams will likely double-team wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, who has more than twice the amount of catches as anyone else on the team. While Larry Fitzgerald remains as seasoned a veteran as it gets, and Christian Kirk continues to improve, Arizona could use another reliable pass-catching threat to divert the defense’s attention. Zach Ertz could be that guy.
Additionally, since the Cardinals play in such a tough division, they might feel more inclined to bring someone in to keep up with Seattle, San Francisco and the Los Angeles Rams.
If the Baltimore Ravens have taught us anything, it’s that they aren’t afraid to make a strength stronger.
They recently acquired DE Yannick Ngakoue, bolstering a defensive unit that was already second in the NFL in total sacks. The Ravens also brought in cornerback Marcus Peters last October to a unit which already featured Jimmy Smith and Marlon Humphrey. Baltimore also drafted running back J.K. Dobbins in the second round to bolster a rushing attack that finished first in the NFL by nearly 1,000 yards in 2019.
While the team doesn’t absolutely need another tight end, the Ravens have featured multiple TE personnel for many years very successfully. Mark Andrews is arguably a top-five option at the position, and Nick Boyle remains a viable player for them as well. Losing Hayden Hurst this offseason to the Atlanta Falcons, however, subtracted a pass-catching threat from their team, which they could look to replace with Zach Ertz—it would not be stunning.
The Buffalo Bills are probably the team that needs Zach Ertz’s services the most. They seem like a lock to make the playoffs in a weakened AFC East, but coach Sean McDermott’s squad has larger dreams about advancing in the postseason.
Buffalo will have little trouble beating up on the mediocre to average teams in the NFL, but their last two games (losses to the Titans and Chiefs) served as wake-up calls. While they are much improved, their roster may not be good enough right now to compete with the class of the AFC.
The acquisition of WR Stefon Diggs helped Buffalo's offense become more dynamic than they were last season, but they’ll need additional weapons to keep up in a shootout with the Chiefs or Ravens.
Similar to the argument pertaining to DeAndre Hopkins above, playoff teams will try to take Diggs out of the game in January, and the Bills could desperately utilize Ertz’s pass-catching ability in the seam to make defenses pay. They also have an extra 5th round pick from the Zay Jones trade to entice Philadelphia to part with their starting TE.Published 26 Oct 2020, 00:20 IST