Philadelphia Eagles: The stars have aligned for Dallas Goedert

(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

In 2018, the Philadelphia Eagles traded Lamar Jackson for Dallas Goedert.

Okay, technically, that isn’t completely true. In actuality, the Eagles traded the 32nd overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft – the pick used to select Jackson – to the Baltimore Ravens for a trio of picks eventually used to select Goedert, Miles Sanders, and Avonte Maddox, but in practice, the sentiment remains; the Eagles could have had players like Jackson, Nick Chubb, Darius Leonard, or even Goedert at 32 but felt confident enough that a good player would still be there at 52 to move out of the spot.

Again, technically that didn’t happen either, as the Eagles traded the pick they procured from Baltimore to leapfrog the Cowboys and select their namesake player, but that’s really sifting through the weeds.

Because Goedert was selected in the second round, he only signed a four-year contract which just so happens to expire at the end of the 2021 season. Has the former South Dakota State Jackrabbit done enough to prove himself a top-10 tight end worthy of a lucrative new deal a la Austin Hooper and Jonnu Smith, or does he fall into that weird grey area of being too good to sign on the cheap but too inconsistent to commit to long-term?

Well, those issues might be a thing of the past upon season’s end, as the stars have aligned for Dallas Goedert to have a monster season with the Philadelphia Eagles this fall.

2021 will define Dallas Goedert’s career with the Philadelphia Eagles.

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Zach Ertz is one of the best tight ends in Philadelphia Eagles history. If the team doesn’t decide to retire his number when his storied career comes to a close, it’ll be a real surprise, as he currently ranks fifth in receiving yards, seventh in touchdowns, and second in receiving yards behind only Harold Carmichael.

Is Ertz the best tight end in Eagles history? Maybe. Pottstown, Pennsylvania’s Pete Retzlaff certainly makes a compelling case for that honor due to his longevity, Pro Bowl appearances, and similar championship pedigree, but he hasn’t played a game since 1966, so it’s hard to compare the duo apples to apples.

Why, you may ask, is this relevant? Because come June 1st, Ertz’s time with the Eagles is officially on the clock.

Now to be fair, Ertz has been on the outs with the Eagles for quite some time. He asked to be traded last season, has been linked to a number of teams through the first half of the 2021 calendar year and was even granted permission to seek a trade through his representation. But because of Ertz’s contractual circumstances, it always felt more likely that the former Stanford Cardinal would have to wait until June to finally find his next NFL home, as the cap ramifications of a release/trade post-June 1st are a whole lot more manageable than before the totally arbitrary date.

If/when a release/trade comes, Dallas Goedert will suddenly find himself the lone holdover tight end with more than four starts to his name and a virtual lock to start all season long regardless of whether or not the team signs a veteran free agent tight end like Richard Rodgers or Trey Burton to further fill out their depth chart.

Ertz’s status is one of the reasons why Goedert is expected to have a more expansive role in 2021, but it isn’t the only reason. No, Avonte Maddox’s best friend also landed a lucky break in the 2021 NFL Draft when bluechip tight end prospect Kyle Pitts came off the board at four to give Philly native Matt Ryan another offensive weapon.

Had the Eagles not traded out of the sixth overall pick and Pitts somehow made it past both Atlanta and Cincinnati – who probably would have taken Jamar Chase no matter what, Sonny Weaver Jr.-style – it would have been incredibly hard for Howie Roseman to pass up on drafting the do-it-all Philly native who just so happened to attend his college alma mater.

With Pitts in the fray, Goedert may have still earned more starts and maybe even have finished out the forthcoming season with more years, touchdowns, and receptions, but the chance of retaining his services long-term would have gone down considerably, as only the Patriots are willing to dish out eight-figure contracts to their second-string tight ends.

But now? Now, Goedert is the most experienced weapon on a brand new offense that has historically treated tight ends pretty well and should serve as a reliable safety blanket for his summer practice partner in crime, Jalen Hurts.

Considering DeVonta Smith will surely draw the lion’s share of opposing attention right from the jump, and Jalen Reagor will help to attack the interior from the slot, there should be plenty of opportunities for Goedert to pick up chunks of yards and an underneath option across the middle of the field while maintaining an ability to go deep against much smaller coverage players.

At 6-foot-5, 256 pounds, Goedert is a matchup nightmare who could do wonders if deployed correctly.

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Will Dallas Goedert ever live up to being the crown jewel of a Lamar Jackson trade? Probably not, but honestly, he doesn’t have to be. If the pride of South Dakota can just fill the lofty shoes left behind by Zach Ertz, it’ll go a long way to keeping the offense potent and their talent pool at the position as deep as ever. And best of all, Goedert will be doing so as a member of the Philadelphia Eagles, as opposed to the team he shares a name with.