There’s been a lot of talk recently about how June 1 might bring resolution to the lingering Zach Ertz saga. Whereas trading or releasing Ertz prior to 4:00 PM Eastern today would’ve opened up $4.95 million in cap space ($7.8 million dead money), the Eagles can now clear $8.5 million on this year’s cap.
But it doesn’t appear an Ertz trade or release is necessarily imminent. Tim McManus recently indicated as much:
June 1 has been viewed as a possible pivot point in this situation. If Ertz is traded or released after this date, the Eagles would receive an additional $3.5 million in cap relief this season. While that’s nothing to sneeze at, neither side views June 1 as a significant marker in this case from what we gather. Could it help nudge things along once the additional relief is secured? Perhaps, but it doesn’t feel as though the Eagles are sitting on a deal and waiting to make a move.
The expectation remains Ertz will be off the team eventually, but we might not be at the end of the road quite yet as Philadelphia looks for something better than a low Day 3 pick.
His ESPN colleague Jeremy Fowler also reported the following on Tuesday morning:
Talks on a potential Zach Ertz trade have been ongoing for quite some time but fairly quiet of late. At least three TE-needy teams have looked into this. Eagles have made clear they won't part for nothing in return, making a release unlikely. Things could pick back up this week.— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) June 1, 2021
And so we’re still looking at a stalemate.
The Eagles clearly want to receive value for Ertz. One report previously indicated Howie Roseman was seeking a third-round pick. There is no good reason for teams to pay that high of a price, though, when the Eagles don’t hold a lot of leverage. Ertz clearly doesn’t want to be in Philly. This much has been reported throughout the offseason and the sentiment is only confirmed by his atypical absence from voluntary OTAs. Not to mention Ertz is about to enter his age 31 season with an $8.5 million base salary after coming off the worst year of his career. It’s just not a situation where the Eagles can command an ideal return.
There’s been some thought that the Eagles should just keep Ertz if they can’t fetch a worthwhile offer for him. And that Ertz should want to stay since he’s unlikely to do better than the $8.5 million salary he’s currently set to receive with the Eagles. There are some problems with those points, however.
- Again, Ertz doesn’t want to be here. It remains to be seen if he’s so keen on forcing his way out that he’ll opt to pay fines for missing training camp practices, which don’t begin until July 27. But he might be.
- There’s an assumption that the Eagles would be fine with bringing Ertz back at his current rate. Is that the case, though? This is a player carrying a $12.7 million cap number (third largest on the team) in 2021 on a team that admittedly isn’t all in to win a championship this year. Jeffrey Lurie repeatedly said the Eagles are in “a real transition period.” Cap space dedicated to Ertz this year is cap space the Eagles can’t roll over to next offseason. Is it really worth keeping him around when he’s very likely going to be a goner in March 2022 anyway? There’s been no indication that the Eagles are really trying to convince Ertz to stay. Rather, all reports suggest they are very much open to moving him.
The feeling here is that Roseman is being stubborn about this situation. It’s possible his steadfastness will pay off if another team suffers a significant tight end injury and suddenly comes to Philly with a desperate offer. But it’s also quite possible that situation doesn’t materialize.
It feels like the Eagles will eventually have to settle for a relatively meager offer or just release Ertz outright.