Earlier this week, it was reported by NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport that the Eagles and future Hall of Fame tight end Zach Ertz have re-engaged on contract negotiations.
Following the extensions given to San Francisco’s George Kittle (five-year, $75M) and Kansas City’s Travis Kelce (four-year, $57.25), Ertz seems next in line to cash in.
The 29-year-old tight end has two years remaining on his current deal, where he averages $8.5 million per year. That places him as the seventh highest paid tight end in the NFL, behind the likes of Rob Gronkowski, Kyle Rudolph, Austin Hooper and Hunter Henry.
Kelce, Kittle and Ertz are the consensus top three tight ends in football, and this extension, whenever it happens, will more than likely place Ertz in that third spot for highest paid tight ends.
There are a few things Howie Roseman needs to consider before handing Ertz an extension, though. First, he needs to evaluate if signing Ertz is worth letting go of Dallas Goedert when his rookie contract is up after the 2021 season. Goedert will be a hot commodity if he hits the open market and will probably demand a hefty salary.
The tight end market will continue to grow over the next few seasons, so having both Ertz and Goedert under contract means both will likely be getting paid at least $8.5 million a year, or maybe even more. Investing that much money into the tight end group doesn’t seem like the smartest allocation of money, but if the Eagles continue utilizing 12 personnel more than any team in the league, it would make some sense.
The second thing Howie needs to consider is the Eagles cap situation next offseason, which Ryan Haynes outlined in his latest piece. Click here for an in-depth look.
There’s essentially no way the team can get a deal done this offseason. Yes, they have over $20 million to play with this year, but they’re going to need as much of that to rollover into next offseason as possible.
Although Ertz will be 30 in November, I’m not really worried about a drop in production. Travis Kelce is 30 right now, and hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down at all. Ertz has stayed relatively healthy throughout his career, so I don’t think injuries will become a concern either.
If I was in Howie’s shoes, I’d try to extend Ertz for three years at the most. He’d be 32 at the end of that contract and Goedert will more than likely be ready to take the torch from Ertz and become this team’s primary tight end, if he’s re-signed after his rookie contract is up.
The last thing we want to see is the ghost of Zach Ertz on the field after signing a five-year extension. If Howie learned from some of the mistakes he’s made in the past with veterans (re-signing Alshon Jeffery and giving him guaranteed money), then he’ll find a way to retain Ertz without breaking the bank or adding extra years on at the end.