Zach Ertz Trade Rumors: Some Teams View Eagles TE as 'Stiffer and Slower' Than Before

Blake SchusterContributor IMay 26, 2021

PHILADELPHIA, PA - JANUARY 03: Philadelphia Eagles tight end Zach Ertz (86) walks off the field during the game between the Washington Football Team and the Philadelphia Eagles on January 3, 2021 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, PA. (Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The trade market for Philadelphia Eagles tight end Zach Ertz might not be as strong as the franchise would like at this point in the offseason. 

According to Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated, rival clubs no longer view Ertz as an elite tight end like George Kittle or Travis Kelce. That could lead to Eagles general manager Howie Roseman holding onto the three-time Pro Bowler into training camp to see if the market picks up. 

"Having talked to teams, and in part because of his health issues, most say Ertz looks heavier, stiffer and slower now than he did in his prime," Breer wrote. "He’s also turning 31 this year and is due a lump-sum $8.5 million in this, the final year of the contract extension he signed back in 2016. Now, knowing the kind of guy Ertz is, I’m not going to tell anyone that he can’t rebound from a bad 2020. But at his age, he’d be beating the odds to do so."

Breer believes the Eagles won't attempt to give up Ertz for a late-round draft pick or a comparable return. 

Ertz, the No. 35 overall pick in 2013, had been notably durable throughout the early stages of his career, playing in at least 14 games in each of his first seven seasons. It wasn't until 2020 when injuries began hampering his play more significantly. 

The Stanford alum suffered a high-ankle sprain that limited him to just 11 contests in 2020. He finished with 335 yards and one touchdown after not having tallied fewer than 800 yards and two scores since 2015. 

Ertz will become an unrestricted free agent at the conclusion of the 2021 season regardless of what the Eagles do with him this year. That could make things a bit more difficult for both sides if a deal is going to be completed. 

With the veteran in a contract year, Ertz has all the motivation to prove he isn't as slow and stiff as some scouts believe. Doing so won't only benefit whichever team he spends the 2021 season with, but could lead to his next big payday as his NFL career continues.