NFL Rumors: Eagles Pro Bowl TE Turned Down Contract Extension

Getty Zach Ertz of the Philadelphia Eagles

The Eagles usually take care of their own, at least those players considered cornerstones. Zach Ertz checks all those boxes.

Despite having two years left on the $42.5 million contract extension he inked in 2016, Ertz was a candidate for another pay bump. Philadelphia tends to reward their core guys ahead of them hitting free agency, stalwarts like Brandon Brooks, Lane Johnson and Carson Wentz have all been locked up with long-term deals.

Ertz has established himself as one of the best tight ends in football over his seven-year career, including setting a single-season record for receptions (116) by a tight end in 2018. He’s also one of the undisputed leaders in the locker room, a role magnified even more now that Malcolm Jenkins is gone.

According to NFL Network’s Michael Silver, the Eagles did indeed make an offer to Ertz midway through the 2019 season but the tight end turned it down. The offer was reportedly more lucrative than the four-year, $44 million contract the Cleveland Browns just handed out to Austin Hooper. He is now the highest-paid player at his position. While it’s entirely possible the Eagles and Ertz are working on something even bigger, it’s significant to note (assuming this report is true) that Ertz wasn’t willing to give the Eagles a team-friendly “hometown” discount.

Ertz’s Contract Extension Hits a Snag in Philly

The Eagles have been rather lackadaisical in negotiating a new extension for Zach Ertz. In fact, the three-time Pro Bowler went on the record last year about wanting a new deal. He made it abundantly clear that his preference was to remain in Philadelphia with the team that drafted him 35th overall in 2013.

“Obviously, it’s got to make sense for everybody. They got to want me,” Ertz told The Inquirer. “But I want to play my entire career in Philadelphia. I don’t know when that’s going to be or even if they want me back. But it is something I take a lot of pride in, playing so far in one city.”

Adding more drama to the soap opera is the fact the Eagles drafted Dallas Goedert in 2018. The second-round pick (49th overall) has seen his snaps and targets incrementally increase in the past two seasons. Goedert hauled in 33 balls for 334 yards and four touchdowns in 2018 versus the 58 receptions for 607 yards and five touchdowns in 2019.

There is no controversy or jealousy between the two, although a forward-thinking GM, like Howie Roseman, must be thinking ahead to the future. Goedert could take Ertz’s place, at a much lower cost. He’ll earn less than $1 million in base salary in 2020, per OverTheCap.

Bizarre Trade Rumor Involving Julio Jones Surfaces

You have to love the internet, right? Among the most entertaining rumors coming across social media involved the Eagles trading Zach Ertz to Atlanta in exchange for Julio Jones. The report came from a fake source who claimed to break both the Anthony Davis to the Lakers move, as well as Bryce Harper signing with the Phillies.

Within minutes of putting the false rumor out there, it was shot down by Eagles fans, beat reporters and sane people everywhere. For starters, it just wasn’t realistic since Jones will earn $11.2 million in base salary in 2020 and count $32.5 million against the cap. Compare that to Ertz’s $6.6 million in base salary and $13.6 million in dead cap money.

It’s out of the realm of possibility and the report was mocked as such. One other far-fetched trade scenario involved sending Derek Barnett and Rasul Douglas to Jacksonville for Yannick Ngakoue. Again, it’s an intriguing proposition but highly unlikely.

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