Top trade destinations for Zach Ertz: Indy tops the list

Where Will Eagles Zach Ertz Land?

By: Levi Ellis

The question all offseason has been when, not if, Zach Ertz would be traded. It’s now late April and Zach Ertz is still a Philadelphia Eagle. Make no mistake it’s not a matter of if this trade will happen, it’s a matter of when this trade will happen.  Philly is in salary cap purgatory and they are rebuilding. A 30 year old tight end with recent health issues on a large contract and who still holds value has no future on a rebuilding Philly roster. Let’s break down the reasons why a trade involving Zach Ertz has not yet happened as well as some possible landing spots and finally my prediction of where he ends up. 

I think we can speculate on the many reasons why Ertz has not yet been traded.  First and foremost Ertz has a cap hit of $12.72 million this year and if he is cut or traded prior to June 1st his dead cap hit ($7.7 million) would be more than twice the amount if he was cut or traded after June 1st ($3.5 million). At this time we can only speculate which option fits the Eagles long term plans better. If they cut or trade him prior to June 1st the dead cap is obviously more expensive and immediate but it takes effect this season. If the Eagles wait until after June 1st the dead cap will be significantly less but the dead money will affect next year’s salary cap. If I’m the Eagles I know my team isn’t ready to compete for a Super Bowl this season and I would jump start this rebuild and take the dead cap hit this year much like they did with Wentz and not push any dead money into the future.

Secondly, Ertz is coming off an injury derailed season and he will have to pass a physical for the team that trades for him. A little additional time to heal and recover will certainly help with this process.  

Thirdly and possibly most importantly, I’m sure the Eagles are working to find the best return for their former pro bowl tight end. Let’s take a look at the best possible landing spots for Ertz.

I think we can easily make an argument for over half the teams in the NFL on why Ertz would make an immediate impact for their team. Another reason for this is because tight end is not a deep position group in the NFL and only a handful of teams have a true defacto #1 starting TE. I have narrowed the list of teams that I believe could acquire Ertz to those listed below.

Indianapolis Colts – The Indianapolis Colts make a ton of sense. They are a team ready to win now, the coaching staff is intimately familiar with Ertz after coaching him for several seasons and we already know that the Carson Wentz to Ertz connection is as real as the similarities to their last names. Let’s get the no-brainer selection out the way.

San Francisco 49ers – Last offseason all we heard were rumors on how the 49ers wanted to pair another great tight end with George Kittle. Although the 49ers settled for Jordan Reed the last offseason there has been no talk of it this offseason which I find strange especially when Kittle was injured for much of last year. If anything you would think they would be even more focused on finding a second great tight end now. Factor in that they are also drafting a young QB at pick 1.3 and they are a Super Bowl contender who has had issues with their offensive weapons staying healthy and I would say the 49ers not only should want another weapon at tight end but they need another weapon at tight end. It is especially helpful to young quarterbacks to have that tight end safety valve and to put it into simplistic terms, two is better than one.

Carolina Panthers – The Panthers have been in need of a quality tight end since Greg Olsen’s early 30s. They also just traded for Sam Darnold and if they want to give the guy every chance to succeed then they need to surround him with weapons and an offensive line. I think they work on the offensive line in the draft so trading for Ertz makes a lot of sense. 

Seattle Seahawks – Seattle has wanted a great tight end for years and it has just never worked out. If they really want to make Russ happy and try to repair the relationship they once had they need to fix the offensive line and get him a new toy at tight end. Based on the lack of superior tight end options in the draft and their lack of draft capital Ertz should be a target.

Buffalo Bills – Buffalo is just a few pieces away from being a Super Bowl contender and tight end is one of those pieces. They have also shown the willingness to be aggressive to fill their needs after last season’s trade for Stefon Diggs. Now is the time Buffalo needs to make another big trade to solidify this passing game.

Baltimore Ravens – Baltimore is in win-now mode and they have been working hard all offseason to improve their wide receiver unit. Although they had to settle for Sammy Watkins up to this point, they should seriously consider running a two-tight-end offense and have Ertz join forces with Andrews. This would take a lot of pressure off of Lamar Jackson and allow him to continue to work the middle of the field in the passing lanes while Hollywood and Sammy stretch the field on the outside.

Tennessee Titans – Tennessee lost some big-time weapons this offseason in Jonnu Smith and Corey Davis. They are likely to make an attempt to replenish that depth in the draft but they are also a team on a short-term window to win now so acquiring a player like Ertz makes a lot of sense. He would immediately become the #2 option in the passing game trailing only the great AJ Brown.

Los Angeles Chargers – The Los Angeles Chargers are an ascending team with a young and intriguing quarterback and a new coaching staff. Yes, they did sign Jared Cook in free agency but Ertz would be a huge upgrade on the depth chart and have a significant impact in helping Justin Herbert’s ability to continue to grow and win some football games. They are also in many people’s eyes the #2 team in Los Angeles so not only would this move help win football games but it would help them take a little bit of the market back.

Finally my prediction: Zach Ertz will be traded to the Indianapolis Colts for a 4th rd pick.  There are too many connections here for this not to work out, the team need, coaching staff familiarity, quarterback connection, available salary cap, and most importantly a contending team that is ready to go get that ring!

3 Potential Trade Destinations for Zach Ertz: Should The Packers Strike?

Which NFL Team Could Trade For Zach Ertz?

By: Sukhwant Singh

Zach Ertz a few years back was a dominant TE. He was essentially what Travis Kelce is today.

However, with injuries and changes at QB, now comes a time where the Eagles need to move on from Ertz. With the trade of Carson Wentz last week it is now is only a matter of time of when the Eagles do ship out Ertz.

Zach Ertz turned 30 last November but a change of scenery might help fuel his motivation to return back to being one of the league’s top TEs. He still has the ability to be an important piece on a championship-contending team.

Below are the teams that I believe Ertz can be a great asset and help put them over the top. These are just destinations in which I believe the teams are close to winning currently as is. The salary cap and draft capital will ultimately drive these teams one way or the other to build their franchises.

By: Jack Kurzenknabe

Green Bay Packers

Current Starting TE: Robert Tonyan

Robert Tonyan was a nice revelation for the Packers this past season. Tonyan finished with line of 52/586/11 in sixteen regular season games.

He went 8/82/1 in the post-season in two games. The latter is where a guy like Ertz can be the difference.

Tonyan was pretty much a “no-show” in the playoffs especially against the Bucs hauling in four catches for just twenty-two yards.

Rodgers has never really had a TE with the talent level of Ertz. Granted Zach Ertz is not the Ertz of old but he still can be a difference-maker with other star talents around him.

With the likes of Davantae Adams, Aaron Jones and future Hall of Famer Aaron Rodgers this would be the ideal situation for both sides. Ertz can still when healthy work the underneath and over the middle routes effectively.

This is would be a boon for Rodgers to have that type of play-making and proven veteran leadership from Ertz both on and off the field.

The Packers currently have all their picks in the seven rounds and are expected to receive three compensatory picks. The Packers certainly have the draft capital to make play for Ertz. However, they are currently $-19.9m in cap space, Yikes!

Buffalo Bills

Current Starting TE: Dawson Knox

The Buffalo Bills were a surprise team this past season. The Bills accomplished a lot in terms of winning the AFC East, Winning a Playoff Game (won 2), and reaching the AFC title game. However, there was one aspect particularly on offense in which the Bills did not accomplish much and that was the TE position.

Dawson Knox was their starting TE and posted a line of 24/288/3 in twelve games played. Zach Ertz missed five games due to injury and still managed a 36/335/1 line. This was the lowest number of receptions Ertz had since 2014.

Having traded for Stefon Diggs last off-season which paid huge dividends, trading for Ertz will further boost the Bills’ odds of playing in the Superbowl next season. With Diggs working the perimeter/down field routes, Ertz can effectively work the inside/over the middle and give Josh Allen that much needed short yardage threat.

It will also make Josh Allen to not run as much and avoid big hits when he can just simply zip an underneath drag route to Ertz all game long.The Bills have seven picks in this year’s draft and currently have $-1.01m in cap space.

From a draft/finance capital standpoint, the Bills will have to do some serious maneuvering to land Ertz.

Arizona Cardinals

Current starting TE: Dan Arnold

The Cardinals started of the season with a 5-2 mark but then just went 3-6 the rest of the way. DeAndre Hopkins tied his career high with 115 receptions, Kyler Murray threw for over 3,900 yards with a 26/12 TD-INT ratio.

Drake and Edmonds rushed for a combined almost 1400 yards, yet the TE Dan Arnold managed a 31/438/4 line in sixteen games. Ertz played only eleven games and had 335 yards on 36 receptions.

With or without Larry Fitzgerald this team still has enough offensive power to compete. Zach Ertz can bring that veteran leadership to the offense and provide Kyler much like Josh Allen than underneath safety net to throw to.

Zach Ertz will provide a much needed boost to the TE position and be a valuable asset to a young team on and off the field. His presence and route running can make Kyler Murray even a better QB going forward.

The Cardinals have just five picks in this year’s draft and a total of $11.8m in current cap space.

WildCard Team: Pittsburgh Steelers

The Steelers trying to trade for Zach Ertz depends on largely on what the team intends to do with Ben Roethlisberger. Currently the team is about $30m over the cap.

Big Ben would need to do a serious re-structuring of his contract for the team to even try and think about trading for Ertz. However, if things fall into place, getting Ertz will provide Big Ben with another weapon at his disposal to try and win another Superbowl.

Follow me on Twitter @SinghisKing908.

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