The writing has been on the wall to suggest that a Zach Ertz departure was coming for the Philadelphia Eagles. Now, the rumors are finally gaining some legs.
ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reported on Saturday that the Eagles could explore their options trading Ertz this offseason, potentially putting him in a package with quarterback Carson Wentz to maximize the team’s trade value.
The veteran tight end seemed to be fully expecting a trade away from Philadelphia.
“The foundation that we have here in Philadelphia has been a pleasure,” Ertz said while fighting back tears. “I think we’re just getting started with that [in] Philly. I think this city is the best city to play for and I couldn’t have asked for a better experience.
“This city means a lot to me. It means a lot to my family and I’m thankful.”
Ertz and his wife, U.S. women’s national team soccer star, Julie, are sporting royalty in Philadelphia as the former developed into one of the greatest tight ends in Eagles franchise history.
He ranks first with 561 receptions for 6,078 yards, which is behind only Pete Retzlaff. Among all receivers in Eagles history, Ertz ranks second in receptions, fifth in yards, and seventh in touchdowns.
“I’m not the greatest Eagle by any means,” Ertz said back in January. “But just handling this city I would say… city’s tough. But they’re honest. It’s not a city that cares about how you feel you did. Whether you had a great day or a terrible day, they don’t want any excuses, and I don’t think I ever made an excuse.
“Whenever I didn’t play well enough I just wanted to go out there and work because that was the only thing I knew… I think this city is the best city you could play for and I couldn’t have asked for a better experience.”
Putting Ertz in a potential trade package alongside Wentz would only help what the Eagles get in return for potentially putting their once-perceived franchise quarterback on the market.
Despite Doug Pederson’s firing, the Eagles are poised to move on from the suddenly-controversial quarterback, who was benched in Week 13 due to performance reasons and made his unhappiness plenty evident.
The Eagles are likely hoping to get a similar package the Detroit Lions received from the Los Angeles Rams for veteran quarterback Matthew Stafford earlier this offseason: their first-round draft picks in 2022 and 2023, a third-round pick in 2021, and quarterback Jared Goff.
There is an obvious discrepancy, though, when it comes to looking at Wentz compared to Stafford. Wentz has been injury-riddled and now, inconsistent over the first five years of his NFL career. He also has four years and $128 million left on his current contract, which is a handsome sum to pay for a quarterback who, again, was benched because of his struggles last season.
Still, the Eagles and Indianapolis Colts have reportedly been in talks about Wentz as he could reunite with former offensive coordinator, now Colts head coach, Frank Reich.
While Ertz has battled injury concerns as of late, he is still regarded as one of the better pass-catching tight ends in football when healthy.
Including him in a deal when goodbyes have already seemed to have been said will only help the Eagles’ chances of getting that Stafford-like return.