The Eagles are scheduled to report to training camp on Tuesday and according to a report, Zach Ertz will be with them.
The 30-year-old tight end will report to training camp, 94WIP’s Howard Eskin reported on Wednesday afternoon, also adding that there is a “great chance” Ertz will be on the roster at the start of the season. Eskin also said Ertz has been working out with teammates and is “over the issues” with the Eagles.
This has been an unusual offseason for the veteran tight end, who has had a rocky relationship with the team that drafted him back in 2013.
Had Ertz not reported to training camp, he would have been subject to hefty fines as outlined by the CBA. Ertz’s reporting to training camp, however, does not guarantee he’ll be with the team by the start of the season.
If Ertz is with the Eagles in 2021, he will have a salary of $8.5 million and a salary cap hit of over $12.7 million. By trading or releasing Ertz, the Eagles would save his entire $8.5 million base salary in cap space.
Before the 2020 season, Ertz and the Eagles were never able to come to an agreement on a long-term contract, which led to an icy turn in the relationship. Then Ertz had the worst season of his career -- 36 catches for 335 yards and 1 touchdown -- and capped it with an emotional press conference that sure seemed like a farewell to Philadelphia.
Ever since then, he’s been in limbo.
And now the Eagles seem to be in a good spot to move on. Not only do they have Dallas Goedert ready to assume the No. 1 tight end job but they also brought back Richard Rodgers, who would make for an adequate No. 2.
Is is worth it for the Eagles to keep around an expensive and aging Ertz for the 2021 season? Maybe not.
Of course, Ertz is an all-time great Eagle. He made three Pro Bowls from 2017-2019 and caught some huge passes in Super Bowl LII, including the game-winning touchdown. But sometimes it’s important to remove sentimentality from tough decisions.
If Ertz is back with the Eagles this season, he will have a chance to become the team's all-time leader in receptions. He is 28 catches behind Hall of Famer Harold Carmichael.
Ertz did not attend the Eagles’ voluntary offseason program this spring and the Eagles have not been shy about their openness to trading Ertz.
Whenever general manager Howie Roseman has spoken publicly about Ertz, he’s praised him, basically letting it be known that if any team wanted to trade for the former Pro Bowl tight end, they’d need to up their offers.
“Zach's a really good player and a really good person, and he's under contract with the Eagles,” Roseman said this spring. “At the same time, we have a lot of respect for him and what kind of player he is and what he's done for our team. But this isn't a guy in the twilight of his career. He's a guy still in his prime. A year ago at this time everyone was talking about where he ranked with the top tight ends in the league. So we feel really good about the kind of player he is and we have to do what's best for our team as well.”
It initially seemed like Ertz might be traded after the 2020 season and then during the draft and then maybe after June 1. But after all those imaginary deadlines, he’s still on the roster with training camp coming next week.
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