3 TEs To Trade For In Dynasty

Target TE Zach Ertz in dynasty

By Levi Ellis

When looking at tight end rankings in fantasy football you will find it’s a dim look after the top three to four players.  Rankings are all over the place and you can just as easily make an argument that one guy’s fifteenth ranked tight end could be another guy’s fifth-ranked tight end. 

If you’re reading this article it’s likely that you don’t own one of the top three guys so the most important thing for me when deciding to trade for a player is to find value.  I rarely ever go after a player and give a team a king’s ransom.  I like to look for players that can be scooped up for a value.  Below you will find three players that I believe are currently a value at the tight end position.

The first player on this list is Dallas Goedert.  While Goedert certainly will come with a cost I think his current situation makes him a value.  Many people are worried about the long-term future of the Eagles quarterback situation and that they are likely to be a run first team this year.  The team also just drafted wide receivers in the first round of back to back drafts (Jalen Reagor and Devonta Smith) and Zach Ertz is still on the roster.  All of these things bring uncertainty however one thing is for certain and that is Goedert is a heck of a player.  I believe Ertz will be traded or cut soon and there are rumors that the Eagles are after Deshaun Watson.  Whether the Watson rumors are fact or fiction doesn’t change a lot for me.  I happen to be a firm believer in Jalen Hurts talent and while he is definitely not at Watson’s level I think Hurts can be a solid starting quarterback in the NFL.  The Eagles have also shown in the past that they will be aggressive in acquiring talent so if Hurts doesn’t work out I have no doubt they will find another quarterback.  Goedert will also be a free agent after this season so he could just as easily sign with another team this offseason.  Imagine if Goedert were to leave via free agency next season and sign with a team like Seattle, Buffalo or the LA Chargers.  Goedert may not be a top five tight end this season but if you’re playing in dynasty he has all the tools to be a consistent top ten player year in and year out and his value is likely to never be lower than it is right now.  

Another tight end that I believe is at a great value right now is Jonnu Smith.  Smith flashed quite a bit early last season before falling out of the game plan in Tennessee.  Smith has a ton of talent and is special with the ball in his hands.  I think a lot of people are concerned about Smith because he and Hunter Henry both signed with New England this offseason, however that is exactly why I like him even more.  New England has shown the dedication and willingness to involve the tight end in the offense and they have proven experience with running two tight end formations and were extremely successful in doing so.  I believe that Smith will play the Hernandez role while Henry will play the Gronk role.  I know that analogy doesn’t seem to make the case for Smith as much as it does for Henry but my point is both tight ends were special in that offense and I think Smith will be the big play vertical guy while Henry will be the more inline blocker and middle of the field guy.  Also, take into consideration that New England does not have a bonafide top wide receiver on the roster that will demand ten plus targets a game.  Smith and Henry can also both be special regardless of which quarterback plays.  Cam likes to throw to the big-bodied players which is great for both Smith and Henry and if Cam’s accuracy really is as bad as what we saw last season he isn’t likely to sling it to the outside as much which means he will be looking for the dump-offs which just happens to be what Smith excels at.  If Mac Jones comes in at some point this also should work out well for Smith.  Rookie quarterbacks tend to lean on the tight end position to serve as a security blanket and Jones would have two of them. I think New England would then build the offense to get the ball out of Jones’s hands quickly, something that he’s great at, and again that works out well for Smith with screens, dump-offs, and slants.  Regardless of Henry or which quarterback plays, Smith is destined to be involved in the offense and he has the talent to succeed and you may not get a better time to buy than now.

I have been pounding the table all offseason to buy this next guy because his value has taken such a hit that he is an incredible value and that guy is Zach Ertz.  Look I don’t expect Ertz to be a top-three tight end this season but I do expect him to be a top ten guy and likely more in the five to seven range.  Although Ertz hasn’t yet been traded or released I think the time is coming and will happen before the season starts.  Philadelphia needs to move on both for cap space as well as to let Goedert out of his cage.  I expect Ertz to land with a team like Buffalo or Indianapolis and I believe he would be a focal point of either offense.  If he did join Indianapolis he would also be reunited with his old quarterback, Carson Wentz and we know that they already have a connection.  By all accounts, Ertz is now healthy and you better believe he will be ready to prove that he still has it.  It feels like the consensus in the fantasy community is that Ertz is washed up but the guy is just thirty years old and only one year removed from an 88 catch season.  The talent is still there and if a zip code change is in store you better believe there will be a chip on his shoulder this season.

If you’re shopping for a tight end this offseason these are three great players to buy if you can get good value from their current owner and while there are other tight ends out there that I like, I believe these three may be at the best bargains.  Good luck on your search and remember to always buy at a value!

Would the Eagles be NFC East favorites with Deshaun Watson?

Will Houston Texans trade Deshaun Watson to Philadelphia Eagles?

By: Jake Rajala

The Philadelphia Eagles are strongly considering acquiring Houston Texans star dusted, controversial Deshaun Watson. According to Howard Eskin, who is a sports reporter in Philadelphia, he believes there is a 90% chance Philly reels in the elite Texans QB. There is clearly an ascending belief around Eagles nation that the fit makes too much sense and a deal will most likely be put in place for Nick Sirianni to snag his targeted QB. 

In terms of Watson’s outlook, the QB who is under lots of uncertainty believes there is a “good chance” he suits up in 2021. If a deal is established between Eagles nation and Watson, then Watson proceeds to play in 2021, the question begs to ask: What would the Eagles team look like next season under the new signal-caller? 

The former Eagles team led by Doug Pederson finished dead last in the NFC East a year ago. If Watson is in the building with the new leader Nick Sirianni, it would be at least a three to five game winning difference in 2021. With a generational talent like himself, it is enjoyable and possible to imagine a deep playoff run, but it really would put themselves with a fine, noticeable, yet not an unearthly improvement.

They should boast an extraordinarily strong chance of claiming at least 7 to 9 wins with Watson under the helm. It may not be a superior juggernaut team in the NFC, but they would at least be able to compete for the East title down to the wire. The Washington Football Team under Ryan Fitzpatrick at QB appear as the clear favorites to capture NFC East prominence for the second year in a row, but Watson’s mobility against the fiery Washington pass rush rotation in a head-to-head matchup (Eagles play Washington Week 15 and Week 17) is sure to be a serious a clear x-factor.

The Eagles and Washington are clearly different teams, under new coaching staffs, with a new attitude, but the Eagles did put up a serious fight against Washington in Week 17 of last season. Even with the unpopular benching of Jalen Hurts, the Eagles lost to the WFT by a score of 20-14. The Eagles would have slightly different tweaks around the roster, but a sizable improvement at QB. Meanwhile, the Washington team will still have an average ranked QB in Fitzmagic with largely the same team.

Throughout the season, If the Eagles defense plays average at least, it should be enough for Watson to get enough victories with his utmost prominent playmaking ability himself. Some may question why Watson could carry the hopeful Eagles if he could not bring the Texans to playoff royalty with an MVP-like season, he flexed in 2020. Well, the Texans defense didn’t just do a poor job at complementing Watson, they did a flat-out horrific job. The Eagles total defense was 19th in the total YPG allowed, while the Texans defensive unit was 30th in the league. The Texans just gave up three fewer yards than the 32nd ranked Lions defense that played Aaron Rodgers twice a season.

It is also important to note that the Texans had two teams in their own division that made the playoffs: Indianapolis Colts and Tennessee Titans. The Texans flashed a combined 0-4 record against those opponents. In the East, there was not a true playoff-like talent, but rather a team that won the “least” NFL division with six wins. The rule that every division must send a team to the playoff dance is certainly questionable, especially during NFL seasons like last year.

On the horizon, Watson has been working relentlessly this offseason, as the former Clemson star has a massive chip on his shoulder. If he heads up north, he should have very strong weaponry to utilize. The Eagles currently possess the top TE duo in the league (Zach Ertz, Dallas Goedert), a young talented wideout in Jalen Reagor, and all of this explosion will be taking place behind an offensive line led by the well reputable Lane Johnson, a unit that could be stout if it can stay healthy. Expect Watson to show another elite season of play with a more talented supporting cast, amid a weaker division.

Why keeping Zach Ertz might not be the worst idea

Should the Eagles keep TE Zach Ertz?

By: Jacob Keppen

Who would’ve thought just a short few years ago that the Eagles would be in this situation with Zach Ertz? Ertz seemed like a guy that would do midnight green for the rest of his career, retiring to the adulation of the fans for who he won a Super Bowl. Just like with his quarterback Carson Wentz, the situation rapidly deteriorated over the past two years. 

The squabble between the team and Ertz started with what seemed to be a minor contract dispute, a minor dispute that has snowballed into a seemingly inevitable divorce. It seemed as though that separation was going to happen at the beginning of last year, with the internal problems becoming public at the beginning of the season.

The two sides managed to delay the contract talks another year, with Ertz focusing on the game last year. With Ertz coming off his career, those contract talks now just trade talks. The divorce seems inevitable, many expecting Ertz to never suit up for the Eagles again after last season. What if the separation doesn’t happen quite just yet. What if Ertz was willing to play one more season for the Eagles, just as he did last season?

Of course, if the situation with Ertz is at that level of toxicity that you have to remove him, you do so. If not, why not just keep Zach Ertz? 

Every young quarterback needs a reliable go-to target, especially early in their career. As they’re still going through their growing pains, having a weapon that can consistently get it done is a blessing. Zach Ertz might never be the player he was in his prime. He might not be a guy who can be counted on to haul in 100 passes or be the top 3 tight ends he was for the Eagles in his prime. What Ertz can be is a solid, reliable pair of hands who can work off of some dynamic weapons in Devonta Smith and Dallas Goedert. He can continue to be the safety valve for the Eagles and young Jalen Hurts.

The logic of having to trade Zach Ertz while you still have a chance do does make some sense. Zach Ertz has only one year left on his deal. After this season he is free to leave and negotiate with teams on his own terms. Sure he will be a year older and maybe the market won’t be the best for him, but he will have the ultimate final say in the next Post-Philadelphia chapter of his career. For the Eagles though, they would get nothing. Ertz walks and goes to another team, and Philadelphia receives nothing in return for their fan-favorite tight end.

Conventional logic states that the Eagles would be fools not to try and get something for Ertz now. Unless they were bringing him back, they would’ve already penned a new deal by now, they should try getting something in a trade for Ertz.

What are the Eagles realistically going to get in return though? Zach Ertz will be turning 31 this year? He’s starting the downturn of his career. Last season after pretty much betting on himself to earn a contract that would pay him like an elite tight end, he had the worst season of his career. In 11 games, Ertz only managed to put up 335 receiving yards and a single touchdown. He’s aging, coming off the worst year of his career, is pretty much known at this point to want to move on from Philadelphia, and only has a year left on his contract. Any team that wants him can get him next year in free agency, giving up no assets. 

If the situation isn’t as dire as made out to be in the media, and Ertz would be willing to gut it out one more season, his value as an experienced player who’s won a Super Bowl and can be a reliable target for Jalen Hurts is greater than whatever late-round pick the Eagles can get in return.

Three Philadelphia Eagles who could be playing their last season as an Eagle

TE Zach Ertz could be out of Philadelphia soon

Jacob Keppen

The Eagles are in a situation unusual for the team, a rebuild. For a club that has been a competitive team for most of the past two decades, the Eagles are coming off of one of the worst seasons in recent memory. The previous window has closed, and a new one is being built. A lot of the old guard have already been moved on from, but there are a few remnants of that 2017 team still hanging around… but for how much longer though with the team starting to shift into the new Nick Sirianni era. Here are three Philadelphia Eagles that may be playing their last season of football in Philadelphia.

Zach Ertz

This entry comes with a bit of a caveat. There’s a very good shot that last season was Ertz’s last season in a Philadelphia uniform. Just a short while ago, the idea of Ertz leaving the city seemed impossible. Ertz was Philadelphia’s top weapon and the go-to target on the offense. Ertz’s best season came in 2018 when he caught 116 passes for 1163 yards and 8 touchdowns. A lot has changed since then though.

The writing has seemingly been on the wall regarding Zach Ertz’s status in Philadelphia for nearly half a year now. A contract dispute before the 2020 season put the tight end’s future in Philly in question, those questions growing larger after an extremely lackluster season. It sure sounded like Ertz was leaving after the season, with one of Philly’s best pass catchers delivering a tear-filled message to the fanbase after the final game of the 2020 season. Yet with training camp arriving, Ertz is still on the team. It will be interesting to see how the Ertz situation plays out, but don’t be surprised when Zach Ertz is playing for a new team in 2022.

Derek Barnett

The Eagles are in a very tricky situation with their former first-round pick. Barnett, Philadelphia’s 14th overall pick in the 2017 draft in their own city, hasn’t quite lived up to lofty expectations so far. He hasn’t nearly been a bad player, carving out a role as a solid all-around defensive end, but he has yet to show anything really special through four years. Barnett has been solidly consistently rushing the passer, gaining at least 5 sacks in three of his four seasons (the one in which he didn’t he only played 6 games) but he hasn’t posted a spectacular season, his season high in sacks being only 6.5.

Barnett has largely been the same player throughout his tenure with Philadelphia: a not bad but not great defensive end. Barnett’s backup Josh Sweat meanwhile has improved every year, even gaining more sacks than Barnett last year. With Barnett’s contract coming to an end after this season, a season in which he’s earning 10 million dollars, and with the emergence of a slightly more dynamic Josh Sweat, whether or not Derek Barnett returns to the Eagles next season will largely be based on his 2021 performance.

Jason Kelce

Nothing in football lasts forever. Eventually, everyone retires, and that retirement is coming very soon for star center Jason Kelce. Many expected Kelce to retire before this season, but the potential future Hall of Famer is back in Philly. Kelce has been one of the best players of the 2010s for the Eagles, earning three first-team all-pro selections. He’s one of the best linemen of his generation and will go down as an Eagles legend. 

All good things in football eventually come to an end though. Kelce is 33, soon to be 34, and has been battling retirement over the past few years since the Super Bowl victory. Kelce has battled and played through injuries over the past few years, so it would not be surprising if the four-time pro bowler called it a career after this season. Kelce retiring this season isn’t nearly as foregone of a conclusion as Zach Ertz leaving after this season though. With everything he has done for the franchise over the years, as well as the great level of play and toughness he still gives you every week currently, the decision is all in Kelce’s hands. He’s earned the right to decide his future.

3 NFL Trades that still need to happen

This NFL offseason is far from over.

By: Adam Hulse (@AdamHulseSports)

June 1st is a key date on the NFL offseason calendar. Players that are either cut or traded after this date require less dead cap money for their former team in the current year. This is why teams often wait until after June 1st to move on from certain players on the roster. Now that the date has passed, some of the big names on the trade market have a much better chance of actually being moved. Blockbuster deals can now transform from rumors to stories. Let’s take a look at three trades that need to happen.

Aaron Rodgers to the Broncos

There is no name bigger than Aaron Rodgers when it comes to players that could potentially be traded before the start of the upcoming 2021 season. He is the reigning NFL MVP and one of the best quarterbacks in NFL history. At 37 years old, he is still in the prime of his career and would give any team a realistic shot to win a Super Bowl immediately. He has spent his entire career with the Packers, but he has grown increasingly upset with the organization and has demanded a trade.

Whether or not the Packers actually trade him is yet to be seen. They technically do not have to but if Rodgers is serious that he would rather sit out than play for them, they should maximize his value and a get huge haul in return via trade. The Broncos are one team that would almost definitely be interested and would likely give up whatever is necessary to get it done. They have been searching for an answer at quarterback since Peyton Manning retired and this would more than solve that problem.

The Broncos are a destination that makes sense not only because of their desire for an elite quarterback but also because they are a complete team everywhere else and ready to win now. QB is the only real thing that is missing so with Rodgers they would immediately become a Super Bowl contender. He would have plenty of weapons on offense including Courtland Sutton, Jerry Jeudy, Noah Fant, Melvin Ingram, and Javonte Williams. Pair that with their very solid defensive unit and they are a real threat to win it all this year if Rodgers is playing quarterback.

Julio Jones to the Titans

It appears almost certain that Julio Jones is going to be traded away from the Falcons. He is being openly shopped around for the best potential deal that would both benefit his future and what the Falcons receive in return. One team that Jones has admitted that he is very interested in joining is the Titans. This destination makes a ton of sense because the Titans lost Corey Davis to free agency and have a bit of a need at wide receiver. Few are capable of filling that hole better than Julio Jones. Pairing him with superstar AJ Brown would be a match-up nightmare for opposing defenses.

Brown and Jones are both physically dominating wide receivers with deep threat abilities as well. They both usually require double teams or safety help at least, so it would be a major problem for opponents trying to scheme up ways to keep both of them covered. To further complicate things, they still have Derrick Henry at running back who absolutely destroys defenses that don’t load the box. All of these reasons combined would make the Titans offense an extremely difficult puzzle to solve if they do indeed trade for Julio Jones. It could realistically boost them from a playoff team to a real Super Bowl contender.

Zach Ertz to the Cardinals

There are two main reasons why the Eagles may be looking to trade their superstar tight end, Zach Ertz. First, they are a rebuilding team and Ertz is a veteran that could bring back draft capital in the trade market. Second, they already have the younger Dallas Goedert on their roster who is a very talented tight end. All things considered, it makes sense why the Eagles would deal him and the Cardinals are a team that just may be interested.

The Cardinals have fully committed to surrounding their young star quarterback Kyler Murray with as many weapons as possible to give him the best chance to succeed. They traded for Hopkins last year and followed that up this year by adding AJ Green and James Conner. Their offense is loaded but the one thing missing is a reliable tight end so that is where Ertz could come in. The Cardinals do not necessarily need another offensive weapon but they have already shown that they are willing to go above and beyond for Murray. Therefore, it would not be surprising at all if they made this move.

Top trade destinations for Zach Ertz: Indy tops the list

Where Will Eagles Zach Ertz Land?

By: Levi Ellis

The question all offseason has been when, not if, Zach Ertz would be traded. It’s now late April and Zach Ertz is still a Philadelphia Eagle. Make no mistake it’s not a matter of if this trade will happen, it’s a matter of when this trade will happen.  Philly is in salary cap purgatory and they are rebuilding. A 30 year old tight end with recent health issues on a large contract and who still holds value has no future on a rebuilding Philly roster. Let’s break down the reasons why a trade involving Zach Ertz has not yet happened as well as some possible landing spots and finally my prediction of where he ends up. 

I think we can speculate on the many reasons why Ertz has not yet been traded.  First and foremost Ertz has a cap hit of $12.72 million this year and if he is cut or traded prior to June 1st his dead cap hit ($7.7 million) would be more than twice the amount if he was cut or traded after June 1st ($3.5 million). At this time we can only speculate which option fits the Eagles long term plans better. If they cut or trade him prior to June 1st the dead cap is obviously more expensive and immediate but it takes effect this season. If the Eagles wait until after June 1st the dead cap will be significantly less but the dead money will affect next year’s salary cap. If I’m the Eagles I know my team isn’t ready to compete for a Super Bowl this season and I would jump start this rebuild and take the dead cap hit this year much like they did with Wentz and not push any dead money into the future.

Secondly, Ertz is coming off an injury derailed season and he will have to pass a physical for the team that trades for him. A little additional time to heal and recover will certainly help with this process.  

Thirdly and possibly most importantly, I’m sure the Eagles are working to find the best return for their former pro bowl tight end. Let’s take a look at the best possible landing spots for Ertz.

I think we can easily make an argument for over half the teams in the NFL on why Ertz would make an immediate impact for their team. Another reason for this is because tight end is not a deep position group in the NFL and only a handful of teams have a true defacto #1 starting TE. I have narrowed the list of teams that I believe could acquire Ertz to those listed below.

Indianapolis Colts – The Indianapolis Colts make a ton of sense. They are a team ready to win now, the coaching staff is intimately familiar with Ertz after coaching him for several seasons and we already know that the Carson Wentz to Ertz connection is as real as the similarities to their last names. Let’s get the no-brainer selection out the way.

San Francisco 49ers – Last offseason all we heard were rumors on how the 49ers wanted to pair another great tight end with George Kittle. Although the 49ers settled for Jordan Reed the last offseason there has been no talk of it this offseason which I find strange especially when Kittle was injured for much of last year. If anything you would think they would be even more focused on finding a second great tight end now. Factor in that they are also drafting a young QB at pick 1.3 and they are a Super Bowl contender who has had issues with their offensive weapons staying healthy and I would say the 49ers not only should want another weapon at tight end but they need another weapon at tight end. It is especially helpful to young quarterbacks to have that tight end safety valve and to put it into simplistic terms, two is better than one.

Carolina Panthers – The Panthers have been in need of a quality tight end since Greg Olsen’s early 30s. They also just traded for Sam Darnold and if they want to give the guy every chance to succeed then they need to surround him with weapons and an offensive line. I think they work on the offensive line in the draft so trading for Ertz makes a lot of sense. 

Seattle Seahawks – Seattle has wanted a great tight end for years and it has just never worked out. If they really want to make Russ happy and try to repair the relationship they once had they need to fix the offensive line and get him a new toy at tight end. Based on the lack of superior tight end options in the draft and their lack of draft capital Ertz should be a target.

Buffalo Bills – Buffalo is just a few pieces away from being a Super Bowl contender and tight end is one of those pieces. They have also shown the willingness to be aggressive to fill their needs after last season’s trade for Stefon Diggs. Now is the time Buffalo needs to make another big trade to solidify this passing game.

Baltimore Ravens – Baltimore is in win-now mode and they have been working hard all offseason to improve their wide receiver unit. Although they had to settle for Sammy Watkins up to this point, they should seriously consider running a two-tight-end offense and have Ertz join forces with Andrews. This would take a lot of pressure off of Lamar Jackson and allow him to continue to work the middle of the field in the passing lanes while Hollywood and Sammy stretch the field on the outside.

Tennessee Titans – Tennessee lost some big-time weapons this offseason in Jonnu Smith and Corey Davis. They are likely to make an attempt to replenish that depth in the draft but they are also a team on a short-term window to win now so acquiring a player like Ertz makes a lot of sense. He would immediately become the #2 option in the passing game trailing only the great AJ Brown.

Los Angeles Chargers – The Los Angeles Chargers are an ascending team with a young and intriguing quarterback and a new coaching staff. Yes, they did sign Jared Cook in free agency but Ertz would be a huge upgrade on the depth chart and have a significant impact in helping Justin Herbert’s ability to continue to grow and win some football games. They are also in many people’s eyes the #2 team in Los Angeles so not only would this move help win football games but it would help them take a little bit of the market back.

Finally my prediction: Zach Ertz will be traded to the Indianapolis Colts for a 4th rd pick.  There are too many connections here for this not to work out, the team need, coaching staff familiarity, quarterback connection, available salary cap, and most importantly a contending team that is ready to go get that ring!

5 Draft Trades that Could Occur Before April 29

NFL Free Agency is well underway, and as the pieces begin to fall into place, the NFL Draft outlook becomes more and more clear. Rosters have many holes heading into the offseason, but those needs start getting crossed off the list during the free agency period.

There is a third avenue though, trades. We have already seen a few trades this offseason. The first blockbuster involved a quarterback swap and multiple drafts picks, when the Los Angeles Rams acquired Matthew Stafford from the Detroit Lions for Jared Goff. Then Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz was sent to the Indianapolis Colts. We’ve also seen left tackle Trent Brown head back to the New England Patriots, as well as a Benardrick McKinney/Shaq Lawson exchange between the Houston Texans and Miami Dolphins.

Some of these deals have involved 2021 draft capital, others have not. One thing’s for certain, more trades will occur before April 29th and the NFL Draft. Here are five that may be upcoming in the near future.

5. N’Keal Harry to the Chargers

Supposedly, three teams are currently in on New England’s 2019 first round pick N’Keal Harry. We’ve already seen a 2020 first rounder get dealt, after tackle Isaiah Wilson was traded from the Tennessee Titans to Miami, so don’t assume Harry is safe based on his draft status. The Pats have already all-but replaced the former Arizona State wide receiver, signing a duo of Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne in free agency (keep in mind Julian Edelman and Jakobi Meyers are also ahead of Harry on the depth chart). At this point, Bill Belichick’s best course of action is to salvage some sort of mid-to-late round draft pick in return for the bust.

Where he’ll end up is a bit trickier. I’ve heard the New York Giants and Arizona Cardinals names mentioned, and the Lions and Titans also stand out as franchises looking to add wide receiving ability (both cores have been decimated by free agent losses). The Los Angeles Chargers just seem like the ideal fit though, being that Harry’s best days were out West and Justin Herbert needs weapons besides Keenan Allen and Austin Ekeler. He just lost one in Hunter Henry, but New England could send Harry back as retribution.

4. Zach Ertz to Indianapolis

This one has been heavily speculated already, similar to the Wentz trade before it happened. The Eagles are desperately shedding cap under a new coaching staff, and they have a built-in relationship with Frank Reich already (former Eagles offensive coordinator). Zach Ertz was Wentz’s favorite target for a long time in Philadelphia, and the Colts have identified the tight end position as an area that they would like to add to. It just makes perfect sense.

Ertz is 31 years old, and has a $12.471 million cap hit in 2021. If the Eagles were forced to release him, it would yield a dead cap hit of $7.769 million. The veteran tight end started 11 games in 2020, but had a career-low catch percentage of 50.0, with only 335 receiving yards and one touchdown. He probably wouldn’t cost more than a sixth or seventh round pick.

3. Brandon Brooks to the Jets

Since we just talked about Ertz, let’s discuss the other Eagles veteran that’s on the block. Brandon Brooks is a three-time Pro Bowler and 2018 Super Bowl Champion guard. He had a 92.8 grade on Pro Football Focus in 2019, but missed the entire 2020 season with a torn Achilles. Approaching his age 32 season, Philly needs to get his contract off the books, which increases to an $18 million-plus cap hit from 2022-24. His cap hit would be a little over $7 million this season, and there is a potential out in 2022 with a $16.438 dead cap penalty.

There aren’t too many teams that would take on this type of contract coming off a torn Achilles, but the New York Jets might. They were reportedly in the market for interior offensive linemen this offseason, but already missed out on guards Brandon Scherff and Joe Thuney, as well as center Corey Linsley. The drop-off in free agent talent after those three is drastic, so if the Jets are still looking to add experience at guard, Brooks might be the best possible solution. It would likely cost them a late-round pick, as the Eagles are desperate to unload his contract.

2. Sam Darnold to Chicago

Based on the way the offseason has gone, it appears that the Jets are trending towards trading Sam Darnold. They are supposedly rebuilding through the draft, or making a blockbuster deal for a Russell Wilson or Deshaun Watson type (less likely). Either way, neither path involves keeping Sam as their starter. The most recent bidders on Darnold are the Seattle Seahawks and Washington Football Team (according to reports), but the Seahawks would only make an offer if they were forced to trade Wilson. So far there’s more smoke than fire in Seattle. Washington on the other hand just signed Ryan Fitzpatrick, and already stated that they would only trade for Darnold if his price tag came down (not happening).

That leaves the San Francisco 49ers, Houston Texans (more on that below), Denver Broncos, Carolina Panthers and Chicago Bears. Aside from his contract and hometown, a Darnold to San Fran trade doesn’t really make all that much sense. What will become of Jimmy Garoppolo? Is Sam really an improvement on Jimmy G? Denver and Carolina sound plausible, but they are less desperate to get a deal done with Drew Lock and Teddy Bridgewater under contract. The Bears are the only franchise that NEEDS a quarterback (Andy Dalton addition aside), and they don’t really have enough trade capital or cap space to acquire Wilson if we’re being honest. Darnold is the cheapest, high-ceiling option for Chicago, and that’s why it could end up happening.

1. Deshaun Watson to Miami

To me, the Miami Dolphins still feel like the franchise most likely to trade for Deshaun Watson. Of course, the Jets, Broncos, Panthers, 49ers, Bears and a half-dozen other teams still remain in the mix for the generational talent. The Dolphins must keep pace with the likes of the Buffalo Bills and New England Patriots (who have been gearing up in free agency), and Tua Tagovailoa didn’t exactly inspire much confidence his rookie season. The former Alabama star threw for only 181.4 yards per game (6.3 yards per attempt), with a 64.1 completion percentage and an 87.1 quarterback rating. Not terrible, but compared to Herbert and Joe Burrow, not very enticing either.

Miami also has the draft capital and cap space (about $32 million) to make the Houston Texans a legitimate offer. They could send Tagovailoa back in return, along with the third and 18th picks in the 2021 draft, as well as numerous future firsts and seconds. The only team that could match an offer like this is the Jets, but NYJ general manager Joe Douglas seems more intent on building through the draft. Even if this is a smokescreen tactic by Douglas, some might argue the Dolphins have the more appealing offer with Tua rather than Darnold (more years of team control left) headed to Houston. The Broncos or Panthers probably have the third best chance, with more cap and draft capital than the Niners and Bears, but none of them can truly match up against the Fins and Jets.

Watson would make any franchise an immediate contender, but GM Nick Caserio and the Texans have yet to even admit that they have any intention of dealing him. The writing’s on the wall though, and at this point I would expect Deshaun to be wearing a new jersey by the time Roger Goodell reads out Trevor Lawrence’s name.

Three Potential Landing Spots for Zach Ertz via Trade this Off-Season

Where Could the Eagles TE Land?

By: Chris Boughman (Twitter: @Bo_Rock20)

The era of Zach Ertz has been a fun ride for Eagles fans and the organization. One of the most beloved Eagles players in recent memory enters the final year of his contract, and his future in Philadelphia is very much in doubt. He’s enjoyed a phenomenal career that’s left his name cemented in the Eagles history books being among the leaders in the organization in many categories (According to Pro Football Reference):

  • Second All-Time in Receptions (561)
  • Fifth All Time in Receiving Yards (6,078)
  • Tied for Seventh All-Time in Touchdowns (36)

However, all stories feature an ending, and that very well could become reality for Zach Ertz in an Eagles uniform. 2020 was an awful year for much of us, and an especially bad year for Ertz. The three time Pro Bowler saw a drastic fall in production with career lows in all categories including a 6.9% drop rate. In comparison, Zach Ertz hasn’t seen a drop rate above 4% since 2018. As his numbers started to plummet, the Stanford alum watched his protégé Dallas Goedert emerge as a feature target in the passing game.

The drama even leaked off the field for Zach Ertz. In training camp, he was seeking a contract extension to spend the rest of his career in Philadelphia. However, Eagles General Manager Howie Roseman and Ertz couldn’t come to terms on a deal. This created a notable dissension between Ertz and Roseman, and became public after a heated discussion on the practice field. After this encounter, one could say that Zach Ertz checked out on the Eagles, showing a very different player than we’re accustomed to seeing on the field.

Zach Ertz will go down as one of the best players to ever wear an Eagles uniform. He embodied the Philadelphia culture, and fans relished in his emotion to the city of Philadelphia both on and off the field. Eagles fans related with Zach Ertz, and he connected with the city very well. As the season winded down, Ertz knew his career in Philly was coming to an end and left a heartfelt message to fans:

The Philadelphia Eagles are in a tough situation heading into 2021. They have the second-worst cap situation in the league is almost 52 million dollars over the cap, according to Over The Cap. They need to shed salary somewhere, and Zach Ertz could be a prime trade candidate. Let’s take a look at three teams that could potentially pull the trigger in a trade for the talented Zach Ertz.

Indianapolis Colts

Let’s start the bidding with the most logical candidate, the Indianapolis Colts!

Now, the first thing on Frank Reich’s off-season To Do List is to find a Quarterback (Plenty are available), but the Colts will be popular in trade rumors surrounding Zach Ertz.

This might be the most logical destination for Zach Ertz. He’ll be reunited with his former Offensive Coordinator, and current Indianapolis Head Coach, Frank Reich. The Colts played this season with three tight ends having a prominent role in their offense, both in blocking and the passing game. Let’s compare Tight End production with the 2020 Colts and the 2017 Eagles:

2020 Indianapolis Colts (Jack Doyle, Mo Alie-Cox, and Trey Burton)

  • Receptions: 82
  • Receiving Yards: 895
  • Touchdowns: 8

2017 Philadelphia Eagles (Zach Ertz, Trey Burton, and Brent Celek)

  • Receptions: 110
  • Receiving Yards: 1,202
  • Touchdowns: 14

While the stats don’t match up identically, there’s one thing you can take away from the above statistics: Frank Reich loves his Tight Ends! The Tight End position will be used prominently in the Colts offense, and Reich will run a ton of 12 personnel (1 RB, 2 TE).

Is there space in the Tight End room for Zach Ertz? Well, with Trey Burton and Mo Alie-Cox set to become free agents, there’s a prime opportunity for the Colts to swoop in and make a trade for Zach Ertz. They have plenty of Cap space (68+ million), so this seems to be a match made in heaven.

New England Patriots

The New England Patriots are in unfamiliar territory as we enter the off-season. They missed the playoffs for the first time since I was 20 years old…In 2002! Bill Belichick has plenty of decisions to make as he prepares for the 2021 season. Do they tear it down and rebuild the empire? Does Belichick dive into the QB market and look for an immediate solution to get back into contention? These are important questions that need answers for the direction of the Patriots franchise.

The Patriots are in a prime position to turn things around quickly in Foxborough. They rolled over 19 million to the 2021 salary Cap. Also, the Patriots are released from 32 million dollars in dead money. The above-mentioned moves set New England up with a great salary cap situation in a year where some teams may struggle with maintaining the cap number. The Patriots rank fourth in the league with over 58 million in cap space, according to Spotrac. According to reports out of New England, Belichick expects to be aggressive in free agency.

Does Zach Ertz make sense for the Patriots? Sure! The stars could align and allow Ertz to shine in Foxborough. New England has the cap space to occupy such a move. The contracted Tight ends on the roster include Devin Asiasi (3rd rd. pick 2020), Matt LaCosse, Dalton Keene, and Ryan Izzo. Needless to say, the Tight End room could sure use an upgrade. Enter Zach Ertz! He could provide an instant upgrade to the Tight End position, and to the overall offensive production. Could the Eagles squeeze a 2nd round pick (#46) out of Belichick? Only time will tell.

Cincinnati Bengals

The Bengals are in the midst of a rebuild after a 4-11-1 finish in 2020. “Who Dey” nation could be in store for some major improvements in 2021. Cincinnati has a top 5 pick in the draft. The Salary cap situation is looking pretty good with an estimated 35 million dollars to spend, according to Spotrac. Oh yeah, they have a franchise Quarterback in Joe Burrow hoping a return to full strength after a nasty knee injury in 2020.

The Bengals offense has plenty of weapons, but could use an upgrade at Tight End. Cincinnati currently has C.J. Uzomah slated to play the position, but not much depth behind him. Drew Sample and Mason Schreck fill out the depth chart. Zach Ertz would present a significant upgrade to the Tight End position in Cincinnati. The Bengals hold picks #38 and #69 in this years draft. Could the Eagles move Ertz for one of those picks?

Will a Trade Happen?

According to Tony Pauline of Pro Football Network, The Eagles and Zach Ertz are nearly a divorce and could be finalized in the 2021 off-season. As you proceed down the Twitter feed in the coming days, I’m sure you’ll see rumors swirling about Ertz’s eventual departure from the team.

What can the Eagles receive in return for the talented Zach Ertz? This is very tough to determine. The Eagles Tight End is 30 years old, and entering the final season of a five year contract. The cap hit for his 2021 salary is 12 million. Also, Zach is coming off the worst statistical season of his career. This could greatly affect the Eagles compensation in a trade. However, Zach Ertz is a generational talent, and could offer a boost to any offense in the league.

If the Zach Ertz chapter is being closed in Philadelphia, the organization and fans owe a big Thank you for his contributions on and off the field. Zach Ertz will be a great addition to any team that acquires him this off-season.

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