For the past week or so, all eyes have been on Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz. We were told by multiple NFL insiders before the Super Bowl that a Wentz trade could happen “in the coming days.” But here we are over a week later, and it doesn’t seem like we’re any closer to a deal happening.
Wentz isn’t the only marquee Eagle on the trading block, though. Sports Illustrated’s Ed Kracz reported on Sunday that the Birds have been in talks with both the Colts and Seahawks about a trade involving tight end Zach Ertz.
This isn’t a surprise. We all knew Ertz would likely be gone this offseason, it’s just unclear whether he’ll be flat-out released or traded.
The most interesting note from Kracz’s report is that the Eagles will likely not try to pair Wentz and Ertz in a package to the Colts, a team that has shown interest in both players. He writes, “It’s not inconceivable that Carson Wentz and Ertz could be dealt in a package deal to perhaps increase the return the Eagles would receive in such a blockbuster trade, but, most likely, the Eagles will unlink the two since any team that takes the pair is absorbing two big price tags for their salary cap.”
While that line of thinking does make some sense — rarely will you see a team give up valuable draft picks to take on two over-priced players. But in the Colts’ instance, it would make sense to pair the two.
We already know about the mutual connection between Wentz, Ertz, and Frank Reich. While both players had bad seasons last year, if Reich believes he can get them back on track in Indy, Colts general manager Chris Ballard will consider taking the deal.
The other aspect of this trade is in the cap department. Ertz will cost $8.2 million for any team who trades for him and Wentz will have a base salary of $22 million next season. With a little over $69 million in available cap space, the Colts are more than equipped to take on these contracts. And chances are Ballard will try to re-work Wentz’s contract once he’s in the building.
Ertz alone won’t return much value
If the Eagles decide to unlink Wentz and Ertz and trade them separately, they can’t expect to get much of anything in return for Ertz. Given his $8.2 million salary, his age (30), and coming off his worst season as a pro, anything above a fifth round pick would be shocking.
The Eagles brass has been adamant on their desire to get multiple first round picks in return for trading Wentz. While I believe he could be worth that in the long-run, it’s hard to see any team putting that much faith in him. Insert Ertz into that trade, and now you may be able to squeeze out those two first round picks.
Wentz and Ertz have a long history of success together, and putting them back in Reich’s offense should only benefit both of them.
If the Eagles are serious about getting some real value for Wentz, the best way to go about it would be throwing Ertz into that discussion.
The Colts really make perfect sense. They’ll get a potential franchise quarterback and his favorite target, while still having some cap room to work with this offseason. The Eagles will then rid themselves of two bad contracts and get a nice package of draft picks to help rebuild their team.
It’s a win-win for both sides, and I’m sure that’s they way Howie Roseman is going to pitch it to Ballard.