Eagles Hoping Zach Ertz Tense Contract Issues ‘Take Care of Themselves’

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Getty Philadelphia Eagles tight end Zach Ertz high-fives quarterback Carson Wentz.

Zach Ertz believed his decision to play with a lacerated kidney was enough to warrant a new contract. Maybe not.

The three-time Pro Bowl tight end recently expressed frustration in the way extension talks have soured in Philadelphia. He envisioned playing for only one team and retiring in the town that drafted him. But talks between Ertz and the Eagles have stalled, with both sides playing hardball.

Now they are in the middle of the season — one Ertz thinks could be his last year in Philly — and hopefully things “take care of themselves.”

“I’m talking to Zach quite often,” quarterback Carson Wentz told reporters. “As players, we just stay together. We stay together, we believe in each other. Some of those things, sometimes they take care of themselves. As players, we just keep believing in each other and keep encouraging each other. I’ve talked to Zach plenty and I’m expecting a big season for him.”

Ertz told reporters last week that the contract situation wouldn’t affect his stats or the way he approaches the game. He even brought up that infamous Seahawks playoff game from last year when he played through two non-displaced rib fractures, a rib cartilage fracture, and a lacerated kidney. Don’t question his toughness.

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

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Tough Spot for Carson Wentz, Doug Pederson

Wentz is kind of in a tough spot. Ertz is one of his best friends on the team, not to mention his favorite security blanket on the field.

It was a bit odd to see Ertz struggle in Week 1 after making three catches for 18 yards (seven targets), plus a touchdown. Meanwhile, his possible replacement, Dallas Goedert, put on a show: eight receptions for 101 yards (nine targets) and a touchdown of his own. High drama.

The Eagles quarterback doesn’t want people reading too much into that. It was a “flow of the game” thing.

“The last game, obviously getting only a couple of catches, that’s just the way the game went,” Wentz said. “We know he’s going to get his and he’s going to be a big part of this offense.”

Eagles head coach Doug Pederson doesn’t get involved in contract negotiations, especially not when trying to prepare his team for that “monster” Aaron Donald. Still, Pederson’s voice does carry considerable weight in both the front office and locker room. Couldn’t he force the issue? No.

“Well, I’m the head football coach and so I take the high road,” Pederson told reporters. “I encourage the player to try to eliminate the distractions, leave that between the agent and the club and just focus on your job.”

The comments are reminiscent of Bill Belichick’s famous “On to Cincinnati” news conference, only this situation is about more than just football. Money can change people, even divide locker rooms. Pederson went on to explain that he hopes Ertz gets what he wants — as long as it doesn’t come at the expense of him losing focus.

“I’m all for the player getting as much as they can and I’m happy when they can,” Pederson said. “But at the same time, until that’s obviously, until the contract is signed or you know whatever it might be. We’ve got a game coming up and this is how we’re going to use you in this game and try to get his mind, the player’s mind, off of that situation and let the powers to be kind of handle those contracts.”

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