The NFL’s June 1 deadline, whereupon teams can spread out dead cap hits across multiple years on contracts, means trade negotiations around Philadelphia Eagles tight end Zach Ertz should quickly escalate.
Although the Eagles lack some leverage since everyone knows they want to part with the three-time Pro Bowler, ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reported Tuesday that Philadelphia will only release Ertz as a last resort.
That last bit of Fowler’s brief report is intriguing, because at least a few teams are already engaging in talks to acquire Ertz.
Which 3 teams might be most interested in Zach Ertz trade?
Given that Ertz has meant so much to the Eagles organization and was a key member of the team’s run to Super Bowl LII, general manager Howie Roseman will probably do all he can to trade the 30-year-old veteran out of the NFC.
So given those circumstances, let’s focus on a few AFC suitors who could be in the Ertz market, especially since it shouldn’t cost anything more than a late Day 2 or Day 3 draft pick.
Jacksonville Jaguars could land instant TE1 in Zach Ertz trade
We all know Tim Tebow is trying to make a comeback in the NFL as a tight end. Urban Meyer is the main reason Tebow is getting an opportunity in the first place, but it’s also in part because the Jaguars lack a legitimate starter at the position.
Ertz would easily be atop the depth chart upon setting foot in Jacksonville. Being part of a complete culture change under Meyer, with the chance to play with No. 1 overall draft pick Trevor Lawrence, might be factors that make Duval County an appealing destination for Ertz, too.
It’s really hard to pinpoint how the Jags will fare under Meyer in Year 1. How quickly Lawrence adjusts to the pros will go a long way in determining that. If he had a security blanket like Ertz to throw to, perhaps Jacksonville’s offense could be much better than people expect.
One more element to consider: Jacksonville still has the most cap space in the NFL, so if Ertz wants to maximize the earning potential for the rest of his career, the Jags might be the team to do it with.
Zach Ertz could reunite with Carson Wentz on Indianapolis Colts
Another AFC South team Ertz might like to consider are the Colts. Carson Wentz had a messy divorce from the Eagles, but ultimately got to reunite with Frank Reich in Indianapolis.
Reich was the offensive coordinator when Philadelphia won that aforementioned Super Bowl, so Ertz would not only have innate chemistry with Wentz, but he’d also have a great understanding of the Colts’ system.
Indianapolis is counting on a collection of unproven pass-catchers, especially at receiver in Michael Pittman Jr. and Parris Campbell. adding someone like Ertz would be yet another savvy move by Colts GM Chris Ballard, who has to do all he can to ensure the Wentz trade is a success.
Los Angeles Chargers can give Justin Herbert another weapon in Zach Ertz
We saw last season that even as a rookie, Justin Herbert didn’t need much help to thrive in the NFL. He played behind an awful offensive line, and still managed to be among the league’s best QBs.
With a longer offseason to prepare and reinforcements added to the trenches, Herbert shouldn’t be in danger of a sophomore slump, even if he’s transitioning to a new offense.
The Chargers can’t do enough to surround Herbert with dynamic skill players. They have him on a rookie contract still, and thus have the cap space required to take on Ertz at $8.5 million.
Other than 34-year-old Jared Cook, Los Angeles doesn’t really have another viable player at tight end — much less one with Ertz’s skill set. Cook’s presence means that Ertz wouldn’t have to carry the burden of being a workhorse, go-to option, which got him banged up in 2020.
But Ertz probably has more in the tank than Cook and is better than he’s being given credit for. If Philadelphia didn’t implode so hard last year and recklessly spend so much, it’d have the means to keep Ertz and would probably want to. Alas, that’s not the case.
It’d be nice to see Ertz go to the Bolts, the Colts or the Jags. Wherever he ends up, expect a deal to go down fairly soon.