Cardinals Trade for 3-Time Pro Bowler to Replace Injured TE

Getty Philadelphia Eagles TE Zach Ertz catches a touchdown against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Thursday, October 14.

The Arizona Cardinals have found a replacement for injured tight end Maxx Williams.

The Cardinals and Philadelphia Eagles completed a trade Friday, October 15, that sends three-time Pro Bowl tight end Zach Ertz to Arizona in exchange for rookie cornerback Tay Gowan and a 2022 fifth-round draft pick.

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Ertz, 30, scored a touchdown against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers roughly 14 hours before the trade was announced. NBC Sports noted the tight end was “noticeably emotional” as he walked off the field Thursday, October 15, following the Eagles’ 28-22 loss.

By the next morning, Ertz was looking forward to a new chapter in his NFL career with the 5-0 Arizona Cardinals.

“I’m extremely excited to be going to the Arizona Cardinals and play with a team that is rolling right now and just be able to add my skill set to that team,” he said. “(I’m) ecstatic about that situation and just looking forward to going into that building and showing the type of player I am. … I just want to win football games.”

Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury said he’s excited about the trade and praised general manager Steve Keim for making the deal.

“I’ve heard nothing but great things about (Ertz),” Kingsbury said. “I think he’ll fit right in with this locker room. And I thought Steve did a tremendous job of getting that done.”

As Heavy on Cardinals previously reported, the Cardinals spoke with the Eagles in the offseason regarding a potential Ertz trade. The need became more pressing when Williams suffered a season-ending knee injury on October 10 against the San Francisco 49ers.

Ertz, a nine-year veteran, will be a free agent after this season. The 6-foot-5, 250-pound tight end had 18 catches for 189 yards and two touchdowns this season for the Eagles while splitting time with Dallas Goedert.

Ertz is considered one of the greatest players in franchise history for the Eagles, ranking second in catches (579), fifth in yards (6,267) and seventh in touchdowns (38). He set a franchise record with 116 catches in 2018, topping 1,000 receiving yards (1,163) that season.

Ertz also scored the go-ahead touchdown in the Eagles’ 41-33 victory over the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII on February 4, 2018.

Ertz’s production was down in 2020 following an offseason in which the tight end said goodbye to Philadelphia fans after negotiations for a contract extension stalled. In the end, Ertz was back at training camp to begin his ninth NFL season with the team that drafted him.

Ertz has not yet discussed a new contract with the Cardinals, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported.

“But Arizona is acquiring Ertz with the idea of making him a regular featured part of its offense, and Ertz has told others in the past (that) Arizona appealed to him,” Schefter tweeted.

ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler said the Cardinals will pay Ertz the roughly $5.6 million remaining on his contract this season.

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Ertz Already Has Arizona Connections

As a proven pass-catcher, Ertz looks to be a good fit in the Cardinals’ offense.

“I’m looking forward to playing with Kyler (Murray), DeAndre Hopkins and A.J. Green,” he said.

Ertz also will be reunited with former Eagles teammate Jordan Hicks, who played his first four seasons in Philadelphia from 2015-18.

“Jordan Hicks has been recruiting me all week, so it’s going to be good to see him,” he said.

Ertz has another connection to Arizona through his wife, Julie Ertz, a Mesa native who plays for the National Women’s Soccer League’s Chicago Red Stars. Kealia Ohai Watt, who’s married to Cardinals defensive end J.J. Watt, also plays for the Red Stars.

Ertz is expected to make his Cardinals debut on October 24 against the Houston Texans. He is not eligible to play Sunday, October 17, against the Cleveland Browns.

Gowan, a sixth-round pick by the Cardinals in the 2021 NFL draft, did not see any playing time with Arizona. He tweeted his thanks and goodbye after the trade was announced.

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