Zach Ertz

Eagles Stay or Go 2020: What’s after Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert?

Eagles Stay or Go 2020: What’s after Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert?

Reuben Frank, Dave Zangaro and Andrew Kulp bring back Stay or Go with the 2020 version, trying to figure out the future of the Philadelphia Eagles.

Today, we’ll look at tight ends:

Zach Ertz

Roob: Ertz just turned 29 and is already 13th in NFL history in catches by a tight end. And he only needs 22 catches to reach the top 10. He’s an all-time great already, and he’s got a lot of football to go. And Ertz finally put to rest the myth that he’s not tough enough by playing in the Seattle playoff game 14 days after suffering a broken rib and lacerated kidney.

Verdict: Stays

Dave: Ertz has consistently been one of the best tight ends in the NFL for the last several seasons and is putting up numbers that might one day get him to Canton. This will be an important offseason for tight ends; it’s time for one of them to re-set that market because they’ve been underpaid for a long time. Ertz is just a great and consistent player and one of the most important pieces of the Eagles’ offense and he’s under contract. A long-term extension makes sense but the next one is gonna need to be a big one.

Verdict: Stays

Kulp: It was interesting hearing Ertz express some doubt about his future in Philadelphia. Fans like to bandy his name about as a possible trade chip, when in reality, he's a focal point of the offense. Then again, 2021 is the final year of his contract, which means 2020 is the time to start negotiating — especially since he's not getting any younger — and where will those talks go? The Eagles appreciate what Ertz brings on and off the field, but he's approaching 30 and starting to rack up a lot of mileage. It's hard to imagine the situation getting too messy, and the three-time Pro Bowler will probably play this year without a new deal. If the right offer came along though, the front office actually might jump on it.

Verdict: Stays

Dallas Goedert

Roob: Despite playing in Ertz’s shadow, Goedert is legitimately a top-10 tight end in his own right. He was 9th in the NFL in catches among tight ends this year and including the playoffs the only TEs with more catches since Week 5 are Travis Kelce, Ertz and George Kittle. You may have heard the Eagles like to play a lot of 12 personnel. With Ertz and Goedert, they can do it as well as anybody.

Verdict: Stays

Dave: After a slow start (five catches in four weeks), Goedert ended up having a big season. He had 58 catches for 607 yards and five touchdowns. His 58 catches ranked him ninth in the NFL. The Eagles committed to 12 personnel (two tight ends) this season and it worked, especially because the receiver position was a mess. Will it be their base personnel group going forward? Probably not. But they still need to find ways to get Goedert on the field.

Verdict: Stays

Kulp: As is customary with young players, specifically high draft picks, a lot of people were sleeping on Goedert's contributions midway through his second season. Until everything was said and done though, the second-year player ranked among the top 10 tight ends in the NFL in catches (9th), yards (10th) and touchdowns (t-7th). Not bad at all considering he's technically the No. 2 tight end. So what's the problem?

Verdict: Stays

Richard Rodgers

Roob: The Eagles re-signed Rodgers when Ertz got hurt in the Giants game, but that was just as an emergency in case everybody else got hurt. Rodgers is six years into his career, and he’s caught as many as 58 passes in a season. He’s smart, knows the offense, keeps himself in shape. But if he has a future in the NFL it’ll be somewhere else.

Verdict: Goes

Dave: At the end of the season, Rodgers got a few paychecks from the Eagles. He should be back in camp but he has struggled to stay healthy, so they probably can’t rely on him. He has a shot but …

Verdict: Goes

Kulp: Keep his number in the Rolodex in case of emergency, but Rodgers has not been able to stay healthy the last two seasons. You don't need much from a third tight end. Availability is one of the primary traits.

Verdict: Goes

Josh Perkins

Roob: The Eagles were lucky they had Perkins, who’s able to give them reps at wide receiver or tight end as needed. And he did help out, mainly in the second Giants game, when he caught four passes for 50 yards, including that crazy 29-yard TD from Carson Wentz. But he’s not fast enough to consistently play receiver and he’s not a good enough blocker to get consistent tight end reps. He’s a gamer, but he really doesn’t have a position.

Verdict: Goes

Dave: I give credit to Perkins, who came in this season and made some plays down the stretch after being called up from the practice squad. The problem here is that the last two seasons, the Eagles have needed Perkins because of his ability as a wide receiver. If they solidify that position — and they need to — Perkins isn’t as important.

Verdict: Goes

Kulp: Three times in the last two seasons, Perkins recorded at least 4 catches and 37 yards -- and he's barely played. He's got great measurables at 6-foot-3, 223 pounds with 4.6 speed, and is even a significant special teams contributor. Really nice prospect. The trouble is he's a free agent. The Eagles should try to keep him, otherwise they'll just have to replace him. Seeing as he spent most of the year on the practice squad, there shouldn't be that much of a clamoring for his services.

Verdict: Stays

Alex Ellis

Roob: Ellis had two stints on the 53-man roster and two stints on the practice squad, but the sum total of his season was six snaps on offense and 62 on special teams. Ellis had a nice preseason, and I would expect him to be back for training camp again this coming summer. Whether he can actually make the roster out of camp and help during the regular season remains to be seen.

Verdict: Goes

Dave: I really liked what I saw from Ellis, who was actually a late arrival to training camp last summer. He was the first tight end to be promoted from the practice squad this past season. The good thing about Ellis is that he offers blocking ability too, which is important in a possible third tight end. The Eagles could even use him as a fullback in certain situations. I like his potential with a full offseason here.

Verdict: Stays

Kulp: Ellis bounced between the Eagles' roster, practice squad an unemployment in 2019, and has been bouncing around the league since 2016. He has three career catches and worn five different uniforms. Pretty sure he's out of practice squad eligibility, too. He's only back if Perkins is out. Even then, you probably draft somebody.

Verdict: Goes

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Eagles

Zach Ertz played because it would have killed him not to

Zach Ertz played because it would have killed him not to

Nobody can ever question Zach Ertz’s toughness.
 
They really shouldn’t have before Sunday. But after this? Never again.
 
Just two weeks after suffering broken ribs, rib cartilage damage and a lacerated kidney, there was Ertz running around Sunday, doing everything in his power to help the Eagles advance in the playoffs.
 
They didn’t quite get it done, but Ertz’s performance will go down in Philly sports history as one of the gutsiest we’ve ever seen.

I couldn’t look at myself or my teammates in the eye, knowing everything they have sacrificed over the months, if I was able to go and didn’t go,” Ertz said. “As long as everyone was good with it from a health standpoint, I wasn’t going to miss the game. … I wanted to play for this city. I take a lot of pride in playing for my teammates.”

Ertz took a ferocious shot early in the Eagles’ win over the Cowboys at the Linc on Dec. 22. He returned to the game in the second half and caught four passes.
 
He didn’t realize the full extent of the injury until after the game. 

I went to the bathroom and there was some blood in the urine, so the medical staff here rushed me to the hospital, where it was determined that I had a kidney injury. Stayed at the hospital for about two hours that night, so I went home. I did additional tests Monday morning that determined the severity and we found out there were two non-displaced rib fractures, a rib cartilage fracture and obviously the kidney injury.”

The Eagles beat the Giants and clinched the NFC East title while Ertz watched from the sidelines.
 
“It killed me,” he said. “If it was just the rib injury I would have been able to go, but they would not let me go.”
 
This past Saturday, Ertz met at the NovaCare Complex with multiple independent specialists, who examined his most recent set of scans and cleared him.
 
“The kidney had healed rapidly, remarkably,” he said.
 
It was one thing to miss a regular-season game. If there were any possible way for him to be out there Sunday for the Seahawks, Ertz was going to do it.

Even if it took a miracle.
 
“It was tough,” Ertz said. “Monday, after the Cowboys game, I couldn’t get out of bed on my own. I knew everything this team has gone through the past six months (from) where we started last April. I always get the best cover guys. The defense always has to account for me and so I knew if I could be out there, even if I wasn’t 100 percent, that the defense has to treat me like I am 100 percent.”
 
Understandably, Ertz wasn’t quite himself, but he did have a 32-yard catch-and-run from Josh McCown on the first play of the third quarter – it was actually his longest catch since a 34-yarder in Tampa in Week 2 of last year - and he added a 12-yarder in the fourth quarter.
 
The two catches gave him 33 in his postseason career, tied with Brian Westbrook for 3rd-most in Eagles history – behind Chad Lewis (38) and current Eagles running backs coach Duce Staley (35).
 
Ertz’s presence definitely opened things up for Dallas Goedert, who led the Eagles with 7-for-73. So 117 of the Eagles 177 receiving yards came from their two tight ends.
 
Why put yourself through this?
 
“It’s football in Week 18,” Ertz said. “Obviously, it’s a little more extreme, what I was going through. All of the pads were very uncomfortable. By the end of the game, it didn’t feel very good. Just trying to give everything I have for the team because I knew all of the guys were trying to do the same for me.”
 
Ertz and his teammates weren’t able to will the undermanned Eagles past the Seahawks Sunday, but you’d like to think that the way this team performed down the stretch – minus most of the offense and a good chunk of the defense – earned them some respect.
 
They lost. But it’s hard to imagine Ertz having any more to give and it’s hard to imagine this team having any more to give.
 
“This team embodies this city,” he said. “It’s a resilient city, a tough city, and I feel like the character of this team the past couple of years has been a reflection of this city. We do everything we can to try and win on Sundays and sometimes we just come up a little short. Today we had chances to make plays and we just didn’t make enough of them.”
 
How do you not root for this guy?
 
Ertz is an all-time great Eagle and if you weren’t sure about it before, you have to be now.

More on the Eagles

Source: Zach Ertz cleared, will play vs. Seahawks Sunday

Source: Zach Ertz cleared, will play vs. Seahawks Sunday

Three-time Pro Bowl tight end Zach Ertz is expected to play in the Eagles’ wild-card playoff game against the Seahawks Sunday after being medically cleared, according to NBC Sports Philadelphia's Derrick Gunn.

Ertz suffered a broken rib and lacerated kidney in the Eagles’ win over the Cowboys on Dec. 22 and missed the playoff-clinching win over the Giants last weekend.

Doug Pederson said Friday the team was awaiting test results Saturday that could clear Ertz, and those results have come back positive.

Ertz has over 200 catches over the last two years and despite missing the last game of the season led all NFC tight ends with 88 receptions. 

Ertz has been Carson Wentz’s favorite target over the last four years. Wentz has completed nearly twice as many passes to Ertz since entering the NFL in 2016 (303) than any other receiver. Nelson Agholor is second with 156.

Getting Ertz back, even on a limited basis, is a huge boost for an offense already missing DeSean Jackson, Alshon Jeffery, Agholor, Brandon Brooks, Corey Clement, Darren Sproles,  Lane Johnson.

Ertz has 525 catches in his career, 13th-most in NFL history by a tight end and the most by any tight end in his first seven seasons.

He’s also been a big-time playoff player.

In six playoff games, he’s already 5th in Eagles postseason history with 31 catches and 7th with 316 yards and has two touchdowns, including the game-winner in the final minutes of the Super Bowl.

In Ertz’s absence, 2018 second-round pick Dallas Goedert has 13 catches for 156 yards and a TD in the last two games. He finished with 58 receptions for 607 yards, both top-10 in the league, and his 5 TDs were 7th-most.

The Eagles also have Josh Perkins and Richard Rodgers on the roster. Perkins, who began the year on the practice squad, has nine catches, including a 24-yard TD, during the four-game winning streak. 

Rodgers, who rejoined the team on Dec. 24, only played five offensive snaps against the Giants but is the Eagles’ most experienced active postseason offensive player, with 13 catches for 138 yards and two TDs in nine postseason games, seven with the Packers and two last year with the Eagles. 

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Eagles