3x Pro Bowl Tight End Zach Ertz, like QB Carson Wentz, is most likely on his way out of Philly. That is a given. However, fans have been waiting for weeks to see where the Super Bowl champ tight end will land. Early reports indicate that if the Eagles are not able to trade Ertz they will ultimately cut him. This leaves the doors wide open as to who could sign him.
The Seahawks, Colts and Chargers have each inquired about the star tight end. If Ertz is to be cut, each of the aforementioned teams are the most likely landing destinations. However, this article isn’t about the likelihood of those team acquiring Ertz, but rather an analysis of an interesting trade scenario proposed by B/R Gridiron that sees the Cincinnati Bengals as a dark horse in landing the veteran TE.
I’ll be the first to say that this trade is very unlikely to happen. But heading into the draft it is a trade scenario that could benefit each team. Just hear me out. The B/R Gridiron report has the Eagles sending their sixth overall pick plus Ertz to Cincinnati in exchange for the Bengals’ fifth overall pick in the draft and a fifth-rounder (148th overall). Let’s look at the pros and cons of this whole situation.
For the Philadelphia Eagles, this could be very beneficial. Owner Jeffrey Lurie emphasized that he wants Jalen Hurts as QB1 going into 2021, eliminating the possibility of drafting yet another QB for their so called “QB Factory”. The Eagles are most likely going to be in the market for their next star wideout after releasing both Alshon Jeffery and Desean Jackson. Plus they move up one spot increasing their chances at potentially snagging Ja’Marr Chase, Devonta Smith or Jaylen Waddle if they are still available.
A decision like this could be a stepping stone in recovering from their mistake of not choosing DK Metcalf or Justin Jefferson in previous drafts. They also do not have to surrender any draft capital for this transition to happen. Another fifth rounder would give them three picks in the fifth round alone. This could make up ground due to the circumstance in which they do not have a fourth round pick (traded selection for Genard Avery two years ago).
For the Bengals, the addition of Ertz would add a little boost to their offense. Their tight end situation isn’t exactly the greatest and with AJ Green pretty much gone their offense will be in need of some bolstering. The veteran tight end would give second-year QB Joe Burrow yet another weapon he could utilize. Being paired with a guy with as much experience as Ertz could be a valuable learning experience for a guy tasked with being the franchise in Cincy.
The Bengals would only move a spot down and given the current state of interest surrounding other athletes by teams holding higher positions in the draft, this move could still keep them in the running to land Oregon offensive tackle Penei Sewell. Sewell looks like the real deal and for the sake of Joe Burrow’s ACL focusing on sufficient protection should be paramount.
Setbacks For The Bengals
Now, this deal doesn’t necessarily make sense in regards to the Bengals trying to build a younger team. The Bengals are all in for the future so maybe signing a 30-year-old who might burn a hole in your cap space may not be the best idea. Zach Ertz carries a $12.5 million cap hit in 2021 and for a team as cheap as the Bengals, $8.25 million in base salary alone may be risky business. For the time being, C.J. Uzomah and Drew Sample could hold the fort down at the TE position while the Bengals focus on filling in the voids in other dimensions of the game.
“Too Cute To Be Realistic”
But hey, it’s professional football and anything can happen. Nobody ever expected J.J. Watt to sign with the Arizona Cardinals but here we are. If the Bengals did pull this off it would perhaps be their biggest offseason splash in recent memory, especially considering the heavy interest by the Indianapolis Colts. A move with Zach Ertz could happen as early as this week, just in time for the March 17th start of the new league season. With free agency fast approaching, it will be interesting how Ertz’s situation unfolds. But, as Sports Illustrated s Bengals Fan Nation writes: “This trade is too cute to be realistic for the Bengals”.