If you’re one of the best tight ends in the NFL, it’s a great time for you.
Kelce ended up signing a five-year, $75 million deal with the Chiefs, making it the largest contract ever for a tight end. That was followed up with a five-year, $57.25 million deal for Kittle, with $28 million guaranteed.
Zach Ertz Is Seeing Dollar Signs
As of right now, Ertz is under contract until 2022. He’ll have a salary of around $6.6 million in 2020. Ertz will then receive a boost in 2021 with an $8.25 million salary. The Eagles have already shown interest in re-signing their star, as NFL Network’s Ian Rapaport reported last week:
Speaking of extensions: The #Eagles reengaged on contract talks with TE Zach Ertz, which makes sense after 2 stars at the position got paid. Ertz’s stats put him on a historic pace, with more yards (5,743 vs 5,647) and catches (525 vs 468) than HOFer Tony Gonzalez thru 7 seasons.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) August 25, 2020
However, extension talks are always easier said than done. Appearing on 97.5 The Fanatic the day after the Kittle and Kelce signings, ESPN’s Adam Schefter said that he didn’t see an Ertz deal being completed any time soon:
“It’s a tough spot for both sides, you can see the Eagles side and see Zach Ertz’s side. Right now today, I don’t see a deal getting done.” – @AdamSchefter
— 975TheFanatic (@975TheFanatic) August 26, 2020
Zach Ertz’s importance to the Eagles cannot be stated enough. He is undoubtedly Carson Wentz’s favorite target, having racked up 204 receptions and 2,079 yards over the past two seasons. Since 2015, Ertz has received over 800 yards each year.
What would a potential extension for the three-time Pro-Bowler look like? Both Kittle and Kelce have had more production than Ertz in recent years. Kelce has received over 1,000 yards in four straight seasons, while Kittle has had two straight 1,000 yard seasons and was awarded All-Pro honors in 2019.
Ertz has had just one 1,000 yard season in his career, and one 900 yard season. So it’s likely he’ll receive a deal that falls below Kittle’s extension. A deal that’s anywhere between $45 to $55 million and four to five could suffice.
That type of deal would give Ertz an average annual value of around $10-13 million (depending on the years), giving him a double-digit AAV alongside Kittle and Travis. Like Travis, a guaranteed amount in the mid-$20 million range seems fair.
Dallas Goedert Can’t Be Forgotten
However, any major extension has to be done with Dallas Goedert in mind. The 25-year-old made a terrific jump from 2018 to 2019, putting up 58 receptions and 607 receiving yards. Before last season, Goedert said he felt he was one of the four-best tight ends in the NFL.
2019 likely did little to discourage that idea. Like Ertz, Goedert is set to be a free agent in 2022.
While Goedert is unlikely to even come close to sniffing the numbers that are going around when it comes time for his first-big deal, he won’t be getting short-changed either. Trey Burton put up just 629 yards with the Eagles from 2014 to 2017.
When he became a free-agent, Burton signed a four-year, $32 million deal with the Chicago Bears, receiving $18 million guaranteed. Goedert would be smart to start at that number and raise it quite a few digits.
Ertz or Goedert: Who Will The Eagles Choose?
This leaves the Eagles with a heavy decision to make. Should they re-sign their reliable starter, who is on pace with former tight end legends? Or should they go with a younger, cheaper option who could put up similar numbers in the long run?
As much as it would hurt to lose a stellar backup option, the Eagles have found their franchise player in Ertz. He’s clearly built up a repertoire with Wentz, and with the uncertainty surrounding receiving targets in the past, losing someone like him could prove devastating.
If the Eagles were able to re-sign both Ertz and Goedert, that would be phenomenal. The two tight end sets have worked well for Philadelphia, and depth at any position is a valuable thing. But there are other positions that need tending to as well. Units like a wide receiver and both offensive and defensive lines have players who are getting older, and new talent will be needed. A talent that will cost.
This raises another question. Do the Eagles decide to trade Goedert after an Ertz extension? It wouldn’t be an outrageous idea to think that the Birds could net a future first-round pick for him.
Goedert will cost just over $2 million combined over the next two seasons, surely an appetizing factor. However, that value will only go down as Goedert continues to inch closer to free agency. For the Eagles, making a decision sooner rather than later is desirable. Going all-in on Ertz means Goedert can be used to acquire more draft capital and allows for other areas to be filled adequately.
As for Ertz, he’s shown time and time again he is well-deserving of a pay increase. He’s put everything on the field for the Birds, and it’s about time the rewards are due.