It was a somber day on Friday for the Philadelphia Eagles and their fans.
The franchise traded three-time Pro Bowl tight end, Zach Ertz, to the Arizona Cardinals. In return, the Eagles will receive 2021 6th rounder, CB Tay Gowan and a 2022 5th-round pick.
The 30-year-old tight end was drafted in the 2nd round of the 2013 NFL draft and spent 9 years with the Eagles and immersed himself into not only the franchise but the city of Philadelphia as a whole.
Ertz leaves Philadelphia as undoubtedly the greatest tight end in franchise history.
- Since 1992, Ertz is the Eagles franchise leader in targets (per Pro Football Reference)
- Ertz departs Philadelphia 10 receptions shy of the team’s all-time reception record
- He ranks 5th in franchise receiving yards (per Pro Football Reference)
- Ertz caught at least one pass in the last 101 games he played as an Eagle, the second-longest streak of consecutive games with a reception in franchise history
- Ertz holds the franchise record for most targets, receptions, receptions per game, and receptions in a game
- Ertz holds the NFL record for most receptions in a single season by a tight end
- Ertz caught the game winning touchdown pass in Super Bowl 52 which gave the Eagles a 38-33 lead with 2:21 remaining in the game.
Across his 9 year career, Ertz has amassed 579 receptions for 6,267 yards and 38 touchdowns.
But his impact was not only felt on the field.
Off the field, Ertz was not only a fan favorite, but he committed himself to helping the community he was a member of.
Ertz embarked upon countless acts of charitable work, like his Ertz Family Foundation which, “works to transform lives through faith, hope, and love, empowering others by sharing faith, learning through sports and advancing education to build supportive communities,” per the foundation’s website, along with ensuring that families in the area have full plates on Thanksgiving, purchasing football equipment for high schoolers, among other amazing acts.
It’s rare that you get an athlete that truly understood what it means to be an athlete in Philadelphia. But Ertz got it through and through. He was and is Philadelphia to the core.
So much so that he now calls Philadelphia home.
“This is home. Philadelphia is home,” Ertz said in his last Eagles press conference on Friday. “And that was tough to articulate to people, that I love this place, I’ve said it all along. It’s a great opportunity to be here and I loved it here. I did the best I could every day and I can leave knowing that and this isn’t going to be the last you’re going to see of me in this city.”
As tough as it is to part ways with the person that Ertz is, on the football side of things, it was the best move for both parties.
Ertz will be 31 in a few weeks. He’s in a contract year and the Eagles couldn’t retain both he and Dallas Goedert.
The Eagles aren’t exactly the cream of the crop in the NFL at the current moment. The Arizona Cardinals are currently 5-0 and by all accounts are one of the (if not the) top teams in the league.
With this trade, Ertz gets to compete for another championship near his hometown of Orange, California. He gets to step into a role where he’s no longer sharing snaps and is the undisputed TE1 in an Arizona offense that lacked a true number 1 tight end after Maxx Williams’ season-ending knee injury.
For the Eagles, this move allows them to fully hone in on Dallas Goedert as the number one feature of their passing offense.
Yes, the Eagles have a potential number one receiver in DeVonta Smith on their roster. Smith is one of the most talented receivers to don midnight green in quite some time, but at the same time, he’s currently 22 years old and has played in just 6 NFL games. It’s unfair to put the lions-share of responsibility on him as a rookie wideout.
Goedert will be able to operate with the majority of snaps at the tight end position and be a security blanket for QB Jalen Hurts.
Through 6 weeks, the Eagles rank 3rd in the NFL in targets to tight ends with 50 total targets.
The Eagles are missing a physical and security blanket component to their passing game.
That component can and will be filled by Dallas Goedert.
In addition to this, the Eagles will get to see young guys like the returning Noah Togiai, who impressed as an undrafted free agent throughout the Eagles 2020 training camp, rookie Jack Stoll, and QB-turned-TE Tyree Jackson, who the franchise is very high on.
In the end, while it is a tough goodbye, it’s one that will hopefully yield positive results for both parties.
Number 86 will forever be revered and respected as an Eagle for life.
Cover Image Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports