The one domino that has yet to fall this offseason for the Eagles is a Zach Ertz trade.
Although the trade talks have been quiet over the past few weeks, we can’t rule out the possibility of an Ertz trade coming to fruition come draft night. On the latest episode of “The Pulse of the City” podcast, AP Eagles beat writer Rob Maaddi provided some insight on the Ertz situation, stating that it’s pretty likely he’s dealt on draft night.
Here’s a snippet of his take on a possible Ertz trade:
This has gone on long enough. I don’t think anybody anticipates that Zach Ertz is going to come back to the Eagles — Zach Ertz doesn’t think he’s coming back to the Eagles… It’s been kind of surprising the way that this has played out, but then when I dig into it and talk to people close to the situation, there’s some bitterness, there’s some resentment, because the Eagles may have been able to handle this differently and allow Zach Ertz to get to a team sooner in the process.”
Earlier in the conversation, Maaddi also stated that Ertz could be utilized to “sweeten the pot” in a draft day trade that would see the Eagles jump back into the bottom half of the first round.
There are a handful of teams at the end of the first round that could use a tight end like Ertz, and if the Eagles are looking to snag one of the better corners or wide receivers in this draft before they’re gone, a deal like this would make a lot of sense for both sides.
Here are three teams to keep an eye on as possible suitors for Ertz once draft night begins.
Green Bay Packers (pick 29)
While tight end Robert Tonyan did have a solid season in 2020, 52 receptions for 586 yards and 11 touchdowns, Zach Ertz is far and away a better tight end when healthy. And aside from Davante Adams, the Packers don’t have any other legitimate receiving threats at Aaron Rodgers’ disposal.
Tonyan’s total receptions and yardage in 2020 has been surpassed by Ertz seven times in his nine year career. The only two season he didn’t have a larger reception and yardage total was his rookie season and last year.
Giving Rodgers another solid receiving option feels like a no-brainer here. While they could elect taking a receiver at No. 29 overall, it could take that potential draft pick a few seasons to really develop into a difference maker. Time isn’t a luxury the Packers have right now, with Rodgers turning 37 just a few months ago.
They’re a team that’s clearly in win-now mode and should be willing to do whatever it takes to get over the hump. Inserting Ertz into that offense would certainly help their cause.
Buffalo Bills (pick 30)
The Bills were one of the first teams to reportedly show interest in Ertz earlier this offseason. Dawson Knox lead the Bills tight ends in receiving last year, accumulating 24 receptions for 288 yards and three touchdowns. In Ertz’s worst year as a pro last season, he still topped Knox in receptions and receiving yards.
Looking at the Bills current roster, they really don’t have many holes to fill, with the exception of tight end. There won’t be a tight end worth taking in the first round outside of Kyle Pitts.
After a breakout season from Josh Allen and reaching the conference championship game, they’re only a piece or two away from being a legitimate threat to win the Super Bowl. Ertz adds another weapon to the Bills’ arsenal and veteran leadership to an already great locker room.
The Bills may be the most logical trade destination for Ertz come draft night.
Kansas City Chiefs (pick 31)
Yes, the Chiefs already have the best tight end in football with Travis Kelce. But could imagine adding Ertz into the fray? If there’s any coach who could scheme up ways to utilize both in effective ways, it’s Andy Reid.
The Super Bowl loss exposed some of the weaknesses in the Chiefs offense. Aside from Kelce, they don’t have any other receivers who are capable of going across the middle effectively. They tend to rely on the deep passing game a little too much. Ertz adds a new dimension to an already electric offense with his ability to make contested catches across the middle, and his stellar route running on short to intermediate routes.
They have the cap space to pull off this deal, and it’s unclear which position they would even target at No. 31. Ertz is someone who will come in and be difference maker, which is something that can’t necessarily be said for a 31st overall pick in the Chiefs situation.
As for the Eagles, they have an abundance of needs, so whoever they select at 31 if they were to trade up would likely be a day one starter.