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Zach Ertz trade: Eagles send tight end to Cardinals

Sensible but sad it had to come to this.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Philadelphia Eagles Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

It took longer than originally expected but it finally happened: Zach Ertz is no longer a member of the Philadelphia Eagles. The team officially traded their veteran tight end to the Arizona Cardinals on Friday morning in exchange for a fifth-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft and rookie cornerback Tay Gowan.

Ertz leaves the Eagles as one of the greatest players in franchise history. He helped the team win their sole Vince Lombardi Trophy, catching the game-winning touchdown in Super Bowl LII. He departs just 11 catches shy of passing Harold Carmichael as the franchise’s all-time leader in receptions.

Really, it’s a shame it had to come to this. In a perfect world, Ertz would’ve remained with the Eagles until he retired.

But that just wasn’t the reality of the situation. Ertz wanted to play for a contender and the Eagles wanted to get some value in return for a player who was likely to leave after the 2021 season. Ertz is set to be a free agent in March. The Eagles had contract extension talks with him prior to the 2020 season but those ultimately broke off. And it was hard to envision a future for Ertz in Philly with Dallas Goedert waiting in the wings to take over as the top tight end.

Speaking of Goedert, he’s also currently set to be a free agent after 2021. The Eagles can now get a look at him as the top guy (once he returns from the reserve/COVID-19 list, that is) before deciding whether to sign him or a long-term contract or not. The franchise tag is also a viable option if they want to go down that path.

The Eagles have some young tight ends behind Goedert. One player the team is excited about is Tyree Jackson. Howie Roseman brought him up multiple times during a post-Ertz trade press conference on Friday morning. Jackson had a really good training camp prior to suffering a back injury that landed him on injured reserve. If his original reported recovery timeline holds true, he should return from IR before October is over. It’ll be interesting to see if Jackson can make an impact in the games like he did in practice.

The Eagles also have 2021 undrafted rookie free agent signing Jack Stoll on the roster and 2020 undrafted rookie free agent signing Noah Togiai on the practice squad. They’ve yet to show they can be regular contributors but they offer theoretical upside.

The same can be said of the cornerback the Eagles acquired in this trade. The 6’1”, 186 pound Gowan was a sixth-round pick by the Cardinals in the 2021 NFL Draft. He didn’t grade out well by Pro Football Focus in 77 preseason snaps, for what it’s worth, but the Cards clearly liked him enough to keep him on their roster. Expectations should be kept low considering he was a throw-in but it can’t hurt to take a flier.

All told, this was a sensible deal for the Eagles. The process to getting to this point was iffy since they risked Ertz getting hurt and being on the hook for his salary when they could’ve traded him (likely for a similar package) in the offseason to clear $8.5 million in cap space. But at least they pulled the trigger now and cleared some money while getting something in return as they try to rebuild their roster.

Thanks for the memories, Zach. You’re an all-time Eagle and we’ll always appreciate you.

Poll

Grade the Eagles trading Zach Ertz for a 2022 fifth-round pick and Tay Gowan

This poll is closed

  • 8%
    A
    (419 votes)
  • 32%
    B
    (1564 votes)
  • 31%
    C
    (1493 votes)
  • 12%
    D
    (615 votes)
  • 14%
    F
    (717 votes)
4808 votes total Vote Now

Here’s an updated look at the Eagles’ future draft picks.

2022 NFL DRAFT

1 - Eagles’ own pick

1 - from Miami Dolphins

1 - from Indianapolis Colts*

2 - Eagles’ own pick

3 - Eagles’ own pick

4 - Eagles’ own pick

5 - Eagles’ own pick

5 - from Washington Football Team

5 - from Arizona Cardinals

6 - from Indianapolis Colts

*The Colts will send a first-round pick to the Eagles if one of the following two conditions is met: 1) Carson Wentz plays 75% of Indy’s snaps ... OR ... 2) Wentz plays 70% of Indy’s snaps AND the Colts make the playoffs.

2023 NFL DRAFT

1 - Eagles’ own pick

2 - Eagles’ own pick

3 - Eagles’ own pick

4 - Eagles’ own pick

5 - Eagles’ own pick

7 - Eagles’ own pick