Philadelphia Eagles: Don’t trade Zach Ertz to Minnesota

(Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images) /

As things presently stand, the Philadelphia Eagles‘ tight end depth is in flux.

On one hand, all three of the team’s 2020 contributors are back, with Zach Ertz, Dallas Goedert, and Richard Rodgers all in the final year of their respective contracts, but that isn’t necessarily a good thing.

No, for much of the summer, many a fan pined for a tweet from Ian Rapoport or Adam Schefter declaring Ertz’s exit from the City of Brotherly Love, even if the expected return diminished significantly from March onward.

While losing the Birds’ lone 1,000-yard receiver from their Super Bowl season surely would have hit some the wrong way, as Ertz is undoubtedly a fan favorite, many understandably turned their attention to the future and an incredibly promising young tight end by the name of Tyree Jackson, who was just slinging passes for the DC Defenders in the XFL not one spring prior.

But then, disaster struck.

While joint practicing with the New England Patriots, Jackson broke a bone in his back that could keep him out until the end of October, and suddenly, the team’s depth didn’t look quite as encouraging as the day prior.

Factor in Jack Stoll‘s underwhelming preseason performances, and the Eagles look destined to roll into week 1 against Atlanta with the same combination of tight ends who started out the 2020 season… unless an unsuspected development arises that throws their suspected plan out of flux.

Should Howie Roseman consider trading Zach Ertz if the Minnesota Vikings come calling about his services?

Which is more valuable to the Philadelphia Eagles; depth or draft picks?

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It seems like the going price for a bubble player is a sixth-round draft pick.

The Jacksonville Jaguars got a sixth for Gardner Minshew, another sixth for Sidney Jones, and Carolina Panthers surrendered a sixth of their own for former Buffalo Bills’ defensive end Darryl Johnson on the penultimate day of August.

While one could quibble over just how valuable a sixth-round pick really is, citing home runs hit in the round and scores more misses who didn’t even make their respective teams as a rookie, if that’s what the market bears in 2021, such is the market.

Is a sixth-round pick worth more to Howie Roseman than the final year of Zach Ertz’s contract? Maybe so, but it shouldn’t be.

No, with Tyree Jackson out and Dallas Goedert still an unknown commodity as a full-time starter, rolling into the 2021 regular season with only Richard Rodgers on the depth chart would be an incredibly risky endeavor, especially for a team with a first-year head coach and a basically first-year starting quarterback.

Unless the team opts to stick with Stoll as their third tight end, any player brought in on waivers would be incredibly behind the curve as far as learning the offense is concerned – unless said player is an ex-Indianapolis Colt – and may prove ill-equipped to fill any substantial role should either Goedert or Rodgers suffer an injury.

Even if a 2022 sixth-round pick could conceivably be under contract through the 2025 season, at a far lower price tag than just the final season of Ertz’s contract, they would not be useful in such a scenario, for obvious reasons.

Ertz, by contrast, would. He already knows the offense, has been teammates with Hurts for the entirety of his Eagles’ career, and even at 30 years old, remains a viable pass-catcher who knows how to attack any conceivable coverage thrown his way. While he may not be the same player who put a thousand yards back in 2017, Ertz is still a better player than any ole schmuck off the street and could still play a viable role for the team this fall, even if it isn’t proportional to his paycheck.

Considering the state of the NFL, of COVID lists, and a 17-game schedule, that experienced insurance policy might just grade out higher than a sixth-round pick, especially when you consider the compensatory draft pick Howie Roseman will surely net should he leave in free agency next spring.

Next. Can Sidney Jones salvage his career back in Seattle?. dark

Would the Minnesota Vikings love to get their hands on Zach Ertz To replace Irv Smith Jr. this fall? Yeah, I’m sure they would, but unless they’re coming in hit with a deal centered around a Day 2 pick or a promising young prospect, the Philadelphia Eagles would be better off keeping number 86 around for one final farewell tour before he tests the open market in 2022.