Executive vice president and general manager Howie Roseman says the Eagles are a better football team after free agency and the draft. We're putting his claim to the test, breaking down the depth chart position by position to examine whether the roster really improved or actually took a step back this offseason.
Up next: the tight end position, which returns almost the exact cast from 2019 pretty much in its entirety.
Dallas Goedert took a huge leap late in his second season. Maybe it was just part of the natural trajectory of a second-round pick. Maybe it was because the Eagles didn't have many other weapons in the passing attack. Either way, Goedert's final six games were especially encouraging.
After recording 31 catches for 289 yards with two fumbles over the Eagles' first 11, Goedert finished strong, racking up 34 catches for 391 yards with no turnovers in December and January, including a 7-for-73 line against Seattle in the postseason. He also scored five touchdowns on the year. Goedert's earlier pedestrian production was normal for a young tight end, but he appears poised for a breakout.
The Eagles must feel Goedert and Zach Ertz aren't going anywhere any time soon. That, or they really like Josh Perkins, because the club didn't address the position in any meaningful way this offseason. Maybe doing nothing isn't a step back exactly given the talent at the top of the depth chart. Still, teams don't often improve by standing still.
With Ertz's contract about to become a topic of conversation — 2020 is the last year with guaranteed money — it wouldn't be a bad idea to develop another reliable target. Then again, perhaps that is more of an issue for Eagles Better or Worse 2021.
Speaking of Ertz, while he didn't match or exceed his record-breaking output from the previous campaign, 2019 was just another solid year with 88 catches, 916 yards and six scores. That was with defenses able to key on the tight end, too, because of the dearth of talent on the outside.
Ertz will turn 30 in November, and because he's a high-volume producer — 204 catches the last two seasons, and 70-plus five years in a row — one might wonder how much longer he'll be at the top of his game. For now, he remains one of the top-five tight ends in the league. Goedert's ascent should help keep Ertz fresh, while the three-time Pro Bowler would likely benefit from the Eagles finding a good receiver or two.
Will the Eagles carry three tight ends, and if they do, could Perkins be active on game days? It's not that much of a stretch.
Though he's bounced between the practice squad and main roster the last two years, Perkins has produced when given the opportunity. He posted four catches for 57 yards against the Bucs in Week 2 of 2018, and hauled in four catches for 50 yards and a touchdown against the Giants in Week 17 last season. Perkins will be 27, has 4.6 speed to go with prototypical size and can contribute on special teams. Carrying three tight ends isn't a foreign concept to the Eagles, either, as they did it for Ertz, Brent Celek and Trey Burton in 2017.
Better or worse?
Obviously, there's not a lot different here, but that doesn't mean the situation remains completely static. Goedert's stock appears to be rising quickly, and the possibility Perkins could crack the main roster full-time would be a lift. With no meaningful decline anticipated for Ertz, there's reason for mild optimism here.
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