According to SportsRadio 94WIP’s Howard Eskin, long-time tight end Zach Ertz will not be a no-show at training camp and is likely to remain on the Eagles by the start of the season:
Latest on #Eagles Zach Ertz. I know hear there is a great chance Ertz will be on team at start of season. Been told Zach will be there at start of training camp Tuesday. Zach has been working out in team facility for close to last 2 weeks with teammates. He’s over the issues.
— Howard Eskin (@howardeskin) July 21, 2021
Additionally, Ertz appears to have moved past the conflicts with the organization.
This kind of outcome between the two parties probably isn’t what most people expected. From the moment Ertz started tearing up following the Eagles’ final game, a trade seemed all but inevitable.
A resolution appeared to be close around the NFL draft, when reports claimed Ertz was expected to be dealt by Philadelphia on draft night or in the following weeks. But nothing ever accumulated.
While some fans of the veteran might be excited for him to return, it might not work out entirely perfect in the end for a number of reasons.
Are The Eagles Benefiting From An Ertz Return?
On the surface, the Eagles are getting someone who has had the most consistency of any player on the team in the last half-decade. Ertz has proven to be a great safety blanket for quarterbacks, and it never hurts to have enough leadership in the locker room.
But there’s more to consider here. A few weeks ago, EagleMaven’s John McMullen reported that Nick Sirianni plans to change some of the offensive schemes the team had relied on often in the past:
“In Philadelphia, a seismic shift is developing with the expected move away from franchise great Zach Ertz to Dallas Goedert as the centerpiece at the position. The secondary part of that is new coach Nick Sirianni wants to move away from a two-tight end centric offense and get more speed on the field.”
The return of Ertz throws a wrench in that plan for a couple reasons. The first is that the team continues to use both Ertz and Goedert in the familiar two-tight end schemes, thus not allowing Sirianni to fully play out his offensive visions.
On the flip side, say the Eagles do move forward with Sirianni’s ideas and focus more on speed. Either both tight ends get equal playing time, or one is relegated to a lesser role.
McCullen’s report also said the Eagles are planning for an extension for Dallas Goedert. It seems like they already have their eyes on Goedert becoming a more instrumental part of the offense, so it’s easy to see who would be taking the backup role.
If that’s the case, having someone who’s making $8.5 million not be your primary TE isn’t a terrific use of resources.
This scenario also means that Ertz would be okay with taking a back seat, which is somewhat hard to believe. He’s still just 30, and could easily command a starting spot on other teams.
Could An Ertz Trade Still Happen?
Even though Ertz is expected to return at the start of the season, anything can happen. Reports suggested that the Eagles weren’t getting trade offers for Ertz they liked.
Maybe the Eagles are waiting to see if a contender experiences a tight end injury during camp or preseason, like they did with Sam Bradford and the Vikings back in 2016. Ertz obviously wouldn’t command a first-round pick, but a desperate enough team could overpay.
They could also trade him during the season, although that’s less common. Additionally, it’d be hard to imagine them getting anything close to what they’d desire for Ertz at that point.
Of course, a trade might be moot if the Eagles outperform expectations and find themselves in the hunt for a division crown. Riding it out with Ertz for one last possible playoff run would be a fitting way for him to go.