With the Eagles beginning Phase 2 of their offseason training (rookies reported for minicamp last week), most veterans arrived Monday for mandatory COVID tests ahead of Tuesday’s scheduled workout at the NovaCare Center. One player who was not in attendance, however, was Zach Ertz, who, according to Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer, will be away from the team until further notice.
Ertz expressed frustration with his contract last year, then proceeded to destroy any leverage he once had by setting career lows in receiving yards (335), touchdowns (one) and yards per catch (9.3). The 30-year-old’s decline coupled with the emergence of 2018 second-rounder Dallas Goedert has made Ertz expendable with Philadelphia expected to either trade or release him in the coming weeks.
It would seem that Ertz, who abruptly broke off extension talks with the Eagles last offseason, overplayed his hand. That doesn’t diminish his accomplishments—three Pro Bowl nods and a franchise-record 116 catches in 2018 (also the most by a tight end in NFL history), not to mention his go-ahead touchdown in Super Bowl LII. But with Philadelphia looking for a fresh start under rookie coach Nick Sirianni, the aging Ertz is a square peg in the Eagles’ rebuilding movement.
Despite having a year left on his contract, the odds of Ertz playing another down in Philadelphia are slim to none. Ertz is only two years removed from registering a team-best 88 catches and could conceivably benefit from a change of scenery, though it’s unlikely the Eagles would get much for him in a trade, particularly coming off last year’s ankle injury.