It’s no secret that the Eagles have been trying to trade Zach Ertz for a while and earlier this week, there was a report that Ertz was growing impatient as he waits for a trade.
Then on Tuesday, NFL Network reported that the Eagles gave permission to Ertz’s agent to seek a trade, which wasn’t exactly news. This doesn’t mean a whole lot because the Eagles still have to agree to a deal but at least this way Ertz’s agent can steer a trade in a direction that makes the player happy.
Meanwhile, the Patriots’ signing Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith should only help the market for Ertz.
With that in mind, here are a few logical landing spots:
Right now, I think the Bills are the most likely landing spot for the former Pro Bowl tight end, especially after the Bills traded Lee Smith to the Falcons on Tuesday. And it’s pretty clear the Bills want to upgrade at the tight end position after reportedly making a serious run at Rob Gronkowski, who ultimately decided to stay in Tampa Bay.
There are still a few tight ends available in free agency, but Ertz would reportedly be fine with playing out his current contract, so if the Bills are willing to pay him $8.5 million for 2021, that could be an attractive option.
The Eagles have reportedly been holding out for a 3rd- or 4th-round pick, so let’s look at what the Bills have in that range this year: The Bills don’t have a 4th-round pick, but they do have No. 94 in the 3rd round. But with Ertz coming off a down season, a conditional 2022 draft pick might make more sense.
Los Angeles Chargers
After Henry left to sign with the Patriots, the Chargers are now a team in need of a tight end. And if they weren’t willing to dish out the $12 million APY for Henry, Ertz would be a cheaper option, at least for this year. He’d also become a safety blanket of sorts for second-year quarterback Justin Herbert.
The Chargers have two 3rd-round picks this year, so perhaps they’d be more willing to give one up. They have 3-77, 3-97 and 4-118 in this year’s draft. Maybe the Eagles could get one of those 3rd-round picks by offering up one of their later-round picks to sweeten the deal. The Eagles have two 6th-rounders and one 7th.
Kansas City Chiefs
Maybe you’re thinking the Chiefs don’t make sense because they already have Travis Kelce. But Kansas City is always looking for weapons and there’s nothing wrong with being able to utilize 12 personnel (just ask the Patriots). And apparently the Chiefs have interest:
The Chiefs would have to do a little bit of work to find the cap space for Ertz, but they could make that happen. They would have just enough money for him now but have to make room for the draft class too.
The Chiefs are scheduled to have a 3rd-round pick (94) and two 4th-round picks (136, 144) in April.
The Seahawks were one of the teams we heard about having interest in Ertz a while back and it still makes sense.
Seattle really values the tight end position. They made a big trade for Jimmy Graham a few years ago and they also gave Greg Olsen a big contract and drafted Colby Parkinson in the 4th round. The Seahawks don’t have a ton of cap space but they could make it work and getting a player like Ertz might help assuage the complaints of Russell Wilson.
The problem here is that the Seahawks have just four draft picks in 2021, so if Ertz were to go to Seattle, we’re probably talking about future compensation. But that might actually make sense if both sides prefer a conditional pick.
Sure, the Colts still have Jack Doyle and they placed a 2nd-round tender on Mo Alie-Cox, so they’re not desperate for tight ends. But their quarterback is Carson Wentz, who is obviously close with Ertz and would welcome him in Indianapolis.
And the Colts are a team in win-now mode and with plenty of cap space to not worry about adding Ertz’s $8.5 million figure this year. But as we learned with the Wentz trade, Colts GM Chris Ballard won’t jump to overpay in a trade. He’s more deliberate than that.
Looking at compensation, the Colts don’t have a 3rd-round pick this year but they do have a 4th (No. 128). Again, a future conditional pick might make more sense.
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