The new trend in the NFL is paying tight ends, and the Philadelphia Eagles may be the next team to give their elite tight end a nice extension.
The Philadelphia Eagles have enjoyed having a top-three caliber type of player playing the tight end position for the team the last seven seasons. Heading into year eight, Zach Ertz has just two years left on his contract. But according to the newly handsomely paid San Fransisco 49ers tight end, George Kittle, the duration of years on Ertz’s deal may change soon.
During the press conference discussing his new extension, Kittle alluded to Ertz being next in receiving a big payday joining himself and Kansas City Chiefs tight end, Travis Kelce, as the highest-paid tight ends in the league.
“I think overall tight ends are occasionally forgotten about or not advertised enough,” Kittle said. “And I think the fact that guys are exploding through the ceiling that was set with me, Travis Kelce got a fantastic new deal, I know Ertz is about to get one and the guys that are just blowing through that,” says Kittle. “It’s fun to see, and I think tight ends will just continue to prove that we’re worth a lot to the team.”
Ertz means a lot to the Eagles offense. The tight end has been quarterback Carson Wentz’s security blanket during the duration of the quarterback’s career, and even set an NFL record in receptions for a tight end back in 2018. The issue many have with paying Ertz the top money he deserves is the fact he’s on the verge of hitting 30 years old in November, and the team’s murky cap situation outlook heading into the 2021 off-season.
Philadelphia also faces the problem of having to pay two very talented tight ends. Dallas Goedert is eligible to be a free agent during the 2022 offseason, and is blossoming into one of the best tight ends in the entire league. According to Sharp Football Analysis, the Eagles ran a 12 personnel offensive alignment for 52 percent of their plays.
With the inconsistencies the Eagles encounter at wide receiver, along with durability questions, it’s fair to assume the offense will continue to utilize their most consistent receiving weapons in Ertz and Goedert, continuing to run a league-high 12 personnel packages. With Ertz coming off the last two most productive receiving seasons for Philadelphia, why not keep him around to give your quarterback in his prime his best weapon?
The Philadelphia Eagles are likely to move on from Alshon Jeffery during the 2021 offseason and may opt to do the same with DeSean Jackson for the cap relief the aging speedster brings. Philadelphia faces an opportunity of paying rookie salaries and low-level contracts to their wide receiver corps in 2021 if the team doesn’t add a receiver in free agency. The freeing up of resources that could be allocated to the wide receiver position can play to Eagles’ advantage if the organization hopes to keep both tight ends around long-term.
The 49ers wasted little time getting a long-term commitment for Kittle considering how valuable he is for their offense. Despite their $177 in cap space, the Chiefs locked up their elite tight end in Kelce to give their young quarterback his security blanket for the next several seasons as well. The Eagles have to do right by Wentz and do the same for Ertz.
Ertz to the Philadelphia Eagles offense is what Michael Thomas is to the New Orleans offense. A valuable possession receiver that can be consistently relied on when all other receiving options aren’t playing up to par. The impact Ertz brings Philadelphia’s offense far outweighs the price tag he’ll receive.
Yes, the Philadelphia Eagles 2021 cap situation (currently sitting at potentially negative 87 million) looks bleaker by the day. But, despite cap space boundaries, NFL teams prove time and time again, they can manipulate the cap to take care of their own. Philadelphia should do no different with Ertz.