Zach Ertz ‘Not Close’ on Signing New Contract with Eagles: Report

Getty Zach Ertz of the Philadelphia Eagles

All eyes have turned to Zach Ertz after the completion of two NFL blockbuster tight-end deals. The market has been set.

The first domino to fall on Thursday morning was George Kittle who inked a five-year, $75 million deal ($15 million annually) in San Francisco. Later in the day, Travis Kelce agreed on a four-year, $47 million extension ($14.3 million) with Kansas City. Both contracts exceeded the $42 million contract that Austin Hooper ($10.5 million) signed in Cleveland back in March. Next up, Ertz and his 525 career receptions.

According to NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo, there are “no indications anything is close” right now after the two sides failed to reach an agreement last year. The Pro Bowl tight end reportedly turned down a lucrative extension midway through the 2019 campaign. Remember, Ertz has two years left on the $42.5 million deal — approximately $8.5 million per year — that he signed in 2016. The Eagles also have to negotiate an extension for third-year tight end Dallas Goedert. It’s going to be a very expensive endeavor to keep both players well-paid and happy.

Ertz made it clear last week that his goal was to stick around in Philadelphia until he retires. He referenced the same career arc as the late-great Kobe Bryant, one of his childhood heroes and a guy close to the Eagles’ organization.

“I made it clear from the moment I got here as a rookie to the moment I signed my second contract that my goal was to be like Kobe Bryant,” Ertz said, “and play for one organization the rest of my career. I’ve made that known and I’ll let my agent and Howie [Roseman] handle the rest. But I know for sure I want to be here for the rest of my career.”

Ertz’s numbers speak for themselves in a distinguished seven-year NFL career: 525 receptions for 5,743 yards and 35 touchdowns in 106 games.

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Can Eagles Afford to Pay Ertz & Goedert?

The million-dollar question (literally) in Philly right now is can they afford to keep two stud tight ends. The Eagles love having both Ertz and Goedert on the field together in their “12 Personnel” package, but the organization is going to be strapped for cash in the future, including salary cap debt of $71.53 million in 2021.

Ertz will turn 30 in November — advanced age for a skill player — and looking to cash in on his last big deal. The guess is he’ll be seeking at least $12 million per year (maybe more) to stay in line with Kittle and Kelce. Those two guys are widely regarded as the two best at the position, but Ertz openly admitted that he belongs in the same conversation.

“I do consider myself in that upper echelon of guys, in that same tier with all those guys,” Ertz told reporters last week. “I don’t mean any disrespect, but I think a lot of guys in this building feel the same way about me. I’m never in the business of comparing people. I think all three of us are at the top of our games, and I think we’re all perfect in the offense that we play in, honestly.”

Meanwhile, Goedert is still playing on his rookie deal. The former second-round pick signed a four-year, $5.6 million deal in 2018 and becomes an unrestricted free agent in 2022. The 25-year-old could be looking at somewhere in the neighborhood of $8 million per year himself, depending on the numbers he puts up this year.

He nearly doubled his receptions (58) and receiving yards (607) in 2019, and now has caught 91 balls for 941 yards and nine touchdowns in his first two NFL seasons. Of course, the only option is for the Eagles to part ways with Ertz and hand the starting job over to Goedert. Nothing has been decided.

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