TRADING TE Zach Ertz is stupid. Let me get that on the record right now. I don’t want anybody saying later this season, that I was ever unclear in my language about the move. Trading him, cutting him, doesn’t matter. Ertz being removed from this roster, this year is unwise. Some will argue that 12M$ is too much to spend on an aging player, with diminishing skills.
Okay. Let’s look at that.
His 12M$ cap hit is a large one. That said, the Front Office has already found a way to fit it under our 2021 salary cap. In fact, according to Over The Cap the Eagles are currently 6.4M$ under the cap. So affording Ertz has already been done. That means we can stop trying to make this about money. How about age?
Ertz turns 31 in November. While that is an advanced age for this position, it’s not ancient or even the most advanced age. Current TE’s Travis Kelce, Rob Gronkowski, Jimmy Graham, and Kyle Rudolph are all older than Ertz, (and most Eagles fans would be happy to add any of those).
People bring up age, because they want to either infer, or say outright, that older players will be less durable, miss more games, and thus be less reliable. Last season at age 30, Ertz missed 5 games, due to injury. It was the first time he ever played in fewer than 14 games in a season.
Before suggesting that the misses are tied to Ertz’s age, consider the following: Back-up TE Dallas Goedert, whom the Front Office (and fans) expect to replace Ertz, also missed 5 games with injury. Goedert is 26 years old. Injuries, not age, determines injuries. So quit letting yourself be told, that one means the other.
Well what about Ertz’s diminishing skills? What diminishing skills? Based off of what, the 2020 season?? You go and point out even one, just one, Eagles starter who didn’t take a step backwards in 2020.
Don’t say RB Miles Sanders. He ran for more yards, but his receiving production took a nose dive, and his yards from scrimmage were dramatically down in 2020. Yes, WR Travis Fulgham emerged, but A) He wasn’t a 2019 Eagles starter, and B) He faded badly, down 2020’s stretch. A pandemic of bad offense infected the whole roster. Including Goedert. Including Ertz.
Finally, what on Earth would we be replacing him with? Aside from Ertz and Goedert, the Eagles have five TE’s on the roster. Only one has ever caught a ball in an actual NFL game. One is converting from WR. Another one is converting from QB.
TE Caleb Wilson shows a little promise, and Jason Croom would be a decent #3, but the step down at TE would be huge, if Ertz goes in 2021.
Then again, Head Coach Nick Sirianni isn’t Doug Pederson. He may not like using 12 Personnel (1RB, 2TE), as much as the guy who won a Super Bowl with it, while playing 32 year old TE Brent Celek for a third of the offensive snaps. (Hey! Isn’t 32 older than 31?)
If Sirianni is looking to feature a Slot WR more, then he won’t be using two TE’s very much, and won’t need to have two good ones. That doesn’t help us with talented depth for red zone situations, or insurance vs injury, but you can’t have it all right?
Except right now, we still have Ertz, and his presence is a luxury. Moving him now would be stupid. Just stupid.