Eagles Insider

Ertz reportedly won't seek new contract after he's traded

Eagles Insider

Zach Ertz won’t be seeking a new contract from the team he’s about to get traded to, according to NFL Network.

Mike Garafolo reported Tuesday afternoon that Ertz is OK playing out the final year of his current contract in 2021 and betting on himself to have a bounce-back season.

Ertz is scheduled to earn $8.25 million in 2021 on the final year of a five-year, $42.5 million contract extension he signed with the Eagles in 2016.

That’s an interesting bit of information because it was Ertz’s desire for a new contract that led to his relationship with the Eagles deteriorating before last season began.

Back in September, the three-time Pro Bowl tight end publicly expressed his frustration with the Eagles after negotiations for a long-term deal broke down with the two sides far apart.

“I’ve said all along I want to be here for the long run,” he said at the time. “I don’t know for sure if that feeling is mutual.”

Ertz, 30, averaged 82 catches for 879 yards and 5 TDs from 2014 through 2019 and with a year left on his deal last offseason was looking for a deal that put him not too far off the $14 to $15 million annual averages that Travis Kelce and George Kittle had gotten.

But the Eagles’ best offer was below $11 million per year, and as the 2020 season began it seemed clear it would be Ertz’s last season with the Eagles.

His struggles on the field, compounded by an ankle injury that cost him five games, resulted in a miserable career-worst season and presumably reduced his value below what the Eagles had offered.

 

Because of his struggles last year and the unknowns involved in acquiring a 30-year tight end coming off a bad year, it wouldn’t be realistic for Ertz to expect a team acquiring him to give him a multi-year contract extension with a sizable amount of guaranteed money.

But if Ertz has a decent bounce-back year in 2021 he would position himself for the huge deal he’s been waiting for next offseason.

The Patriots agreed to contract terms on Monday with Jonnu Smith and on Tuesday with Hunter Henry, giving Smith a four-year deal averaging $12.5 million and Henry a three-year deal averaging $12.5 million. Neither has ever made a Pro Bowl or had 700 yards in a season.

For the sake of comparison, Smith has fewer catches in his career (114) than Ertz had in 2018 (118), and he’s never even had a 500-yard season. Henry has averaged 49 catches for 580 yards in his four seasons.

Both are younger than Ertz - Smith is 25, Henry 26 - but if Ertz has just an average Zach Ertz season - say 70 catches for 700 yards - he would earn himself a huge contract in 2022, either from the team he’s traded to now or as a free agent.

Also, 8 1/2 million is not exactly minimum wage. Even though Ertz believes he’s underpaid, he’s still 6th-highest in the NFL among tight ends with an $8.5 million average.

Meanwhile, Garafolo reported that the Eagles are “taking their time” finalizing a trade as they continue to seek maximum possible compensation. 

The Patriots certainly helped the Eagles by snapping up two of the top free agent tight ends because that created more of a seller’s market. Ertz will have a new home soon.

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