Zach Ertz Sheds Serious Doubt on Long-Term Future with Eagles

Zach Ertz

Getty Eagles TE Zach Ertz battled through a lacerated kidney and fractured rib to play in the Eagles playoff loss to Seattle on Sunday.

Zach Ertz wants to be like Kobe Bryant, in that he only wants to play for one NFL franchise.

One problem: The Pro Bowl tight end doesn’t think the feeling is mutual from the Philadelphia Eagles. Ertz, who has two years left on his current deal, reportedly broke off talks with the team after they low-balled him on a contract extension.

The offer was thought to be less than $10.5 million per year. On Thursday, Ertz told reporters the negotiation process has been “frustrating” and he’s playing the 2020 campaign as if it’s his last year in Philly.

“I’m kind of an emotional guy when it comes to football,” Ertz told reporters on Wednesday. “I play with my heart as much as I can and obviously it’s been frustrating at times, it’s been difficult. I’ve said all along I want to be here for the long run. I don’t know for sure if that feeling is mutual. But I’m going to play this year like it is my last year and I’m going to leave everything I possibly have in the tank for this team, for this city, because that’s what this city deserves, and nothing less.”

Ertz will earn $6.66 million in 2020 and $8.25 million in 2021, in accordance with the five-year, $42.5 million contract he signed back in 2016. However, the 29-year-old has a potential out after the 2020 season that would cost the Eagles about $7.7 million in dead cap money, per Spotrac. Ertz wants to be paid in line with the top tight ends in football after watching George Kittle ($75 million) and Travis Kelce (57.25 million) score bank-breaking deals.

Rest assured, none of that stuff will stop Ertz from going out this year and giving it his all. He owes it to his teammates, to the city, to the fans. Want proof? Ertz reminded everyone that he played with a lacerated kidney in 2019. It’s hard to imagine much better leverage than that. Hopefully, his agent and the Eagles’ front office can work out the financials because he definitely wants to remain in midnight green.

“I’m going to leave it all out there and whatever happens, happens,” Ertz said. “I’ll let the details be with my agent and Howie, but I’m going to do everything I can to give this city what it deserves and that’s everything I possibly have, even if that means playing with a lacerated kidney, whatever it takes to win football games and leave my mark on this team and this city.”

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Ertz’s Feeling Better Than Ever in Year 8

Ertz, a second-round pick in 2013, entered his eighth training camp in great spirits. The three-time Pro Bowler reiterated that he’s in the best shape of his life and plans to build on his two most productive seasons as a pro. Ertz combined for 204 receptions and 2,079 yards in 2018 and 2019 while setting the NFL record for the most receptions in a single season by a tight end (116). He doesn’t feel like he’s lost a step.

“This is the best I’ve felt going into a season,” Ertz told reporters on Aug. 8. “This time off allowed me to focus on my body, becoming a better athlete overall instead of just minute details, running routes like I focus on during OTAs and early in the offseason. So, for me, in particular, I feel like it was the best offseason I’ve had with the extra time.”

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