NFL Insider Speculates Zach Ertz Faking Injury Over Eagles Contract Dispute

PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA - DECEMBER 22: Zach Ertz #86 of the Philadelphia Eagles looks on before the game against the Dallas Cowboys at Lincoln Financial Field on December 22, 2019 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

The walking wounded keeps growing in Philadelphia, although the Eagles insist these are just precautionary measures.

Zach Ertz sat out Friday’s practice with an upper-body injury and is considered day-to-day, according to the team. NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo speculated that Ertz’s absence may be related to his ongoing contract negotiations. Remember, the Eagles held a live scrimmage on Friday where players were allowed to tackle each other to the ground. It’s a situation that encourages injury and maybe the Pro Bowl tight end though it was in his best interest to skip it.

“Let’s take a step back here and let’s remember that two tight ends just got paid,” Garafolo said, referring to Travis Kelce and George Kittle. “And the Eagles have made a run at getting a deal done for Zach Ertz and they were unable to do that. Today was a fully padded, live contact, tackle to the ground, practice. If you weren’t feeling 100-percent and you had that contract extension looming but not done yet … would you practice?”

It’s an interesting theory and one that holds weight considering the recent bank heists for Kittle and Kelce. Kittle became the NFL’s highest-paid tight end last week after signing a $75 million deal with the 49ers and Kelce quickly followed suit by inking a $57 million extension with the Chiefs. In fact, Kittle mentioned Ertz by name and predicted he may be next in line for a lucrative contract extension.

“I think overall tight ends are occasionally forgot about or not advertised enough,” Kittle said, via ABC7. “And I think the fact that guys are exploding through the ceiling that was set with me, Travis Kelce got a fantastic new deal, I know Ertz is about to get one and the guys that are just blowing through that, it’s fun to see and I think tight ends will just continue to prove that we’re worth a lot to the team.”

Follow the Heavy on Eagles Facebook page for the latest breaking news, rumors and content!

Jalen Reagor, Rasul Douglas Sit with ‘Illness’

Meanwhile, four other Eagles players missed Friday’s practice with undisclosed illnesses. The team released an unofficial injury report that included Jalen Reagor (illness), Rasul Douglas (illness), Deontay Burnett (illness), Shareef Miller (illness), along with Zach Ertz (upper body) and Marcus Epps (lower body).

The “illness” designation had many wondering if those players had contracted the novel coronavirus but none of them were added to the Reserve/COVID-19 list. That doesn’t necessarily mean they don’t have the virus but it seems unlikely. As The Inquirer’s Jeff McLane pointed out, those players could be awaiting test results after suffering COVID-19-relate symptoms.

It’s a disappointing development considering the highlight-reel camp that both Reagor and Burnett are having this summer. Reagor, the team’s top draft pick, had been electric in the first four days of padded practices, including drawing a drool-worthy comparison to Julio Jones.

“Confidence is me. I walk around with confidence,” Reagor told reporters earlier this week. “I have confidence. That’s natural to me.”

And Burnett, an undrafted free agent in 2018 and former practice-squad standout, has consistently impressed in all his reps. He hauled in two touchdowns from Jalen Hurts earlier in the week.

Follow the Heavy on Eagles Facebook page for the latest breaking news, rumors and content!

READ NEXT: Browns Top Pick Jedrick Wills Reveals New Jersey Number