This offseason’s Zach Ertz trade saga has been an annoying one to follow. There have been a bunch of “updates” along the way that have left all involved without resolution.
Let’s recap the timeline:
- January 3: Ertz stands on the sideline with Carson Wentz and Jason Kelce long after the team’s Week 17 loss to Washington.
- January 4: Ertz essentially says a tearful goodbye to Philadelphia in his post-season press conference.
- January 14: Ertz’s younger brother, Nic, appears on BGN Radio’s Babes On Board podcast and talks about how Zach won’t be back.
- January 28: Tony Pauline says he was “told unequivocally today that tight end Zach Ertz will not play for the Philadelphia Eagles next year.”
- February 14: The Eagles reportedly speak to the Seattle Seahawks and Indianapolis Colts about an Ertz trade. The Los Angeles Chargers and Los Angeles Rams are also reportedly interested.
- March 3: NFL Network reports an Ertz trade “could happen in the coming days.”
- March 14: NFL Network reports Ertz has “grown increasingly impatient” with the Eagles. They also report that the Eagles insist they will not release Ertz.
- March 16: NFL Network reports the Eagles are “not in a rush” to trade Ertz and they’re “not just going to give him away.”
All of this brings us to this evening’s “news” about how the Eagles are now giving Ertz permission to seek a trade, even though they’ve already been trying to move him.
Still comes down to the #Eagles agreeing on trade compensation but this step means Zach Ertz's agent can massage the entire deal. Ertz wants it done. Team wants proper comp. Let's see where it goes. https://t.co/Mt6Rb0zmdC— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) March 16, 2021
But the Eagles are still theoretically working on a deadline here. They must be cap compliant by 4:00 PM Eastern tomorrow, Wednesday, March 17. It’s quite possible they’ll get under the cap without cutting Ertz. Still, the longer they take to release or trade him, the longer they must wait to benefit from the $4.95 million they can clear by moving him. Freeing up those funds could be helpful in pursuing some free agent addition(s).
Many were quick to point out that the New England Patriots agreeing to terms with both Jonnu Smith and Hunter Henry helped the Eagles’ chances of trading Ertz. In theory, it makes sense. Teams in need of a tight end could now be more willing to give up something for Ertz. And the aforementioned Chargers, those among them, won’t be able to count on re-signing Henry.
But the potential problem is that other teams could still be willing to call the Eagles’ bluff. If teams believe Philly is ultimately going to cut him, then they’re not going to give up much, if anything, to acquire him. The Eagles’ inability to get a deal done this far indicates the market isn’t as robust as they’d like it to be.
The guess here, once again, is that the Eagles either cut Ertz or have to settle for a relatively meager return.