When Buffalo Bills general manager Brandon Beane addressed the media during his end-of-the-season press conference at the end of January, he mentioned several different areas that he wants the Bills to improve on this offseason.
He wants to be able to run the ball better and create better pressure on the defensive front but Beane also wants to improve the tight end position. A trade that Pro Football Focus proposed could do just that.
In an article by PFF that described 10 NFL trades that make sense this offseason, the football analytics website suggested that the Bills should trade 2021 sixth-round draft pick for the three-time Pro Bowler and former Super Bowl champ.
Pro Football Focus said that the Bills could get Ertz for just a sixth-round pick because of his current market value and the Eagles may have no choice but to cut him.
While Ertz was once a target machine in Philadelphia, he’s now on the wrong side of 30 at tight end and missed a large portion of the 2020 season due to injury. Even when healthy, he didn’t look like the dynamic receiving tight end of past years, though the bumps and bruises certainly may have played a role.
We saw with tight end Rob Gronkowski that when the ability to separate in the receiving game starts to fade, strong blocking can make up for it. But Ertz as your prototypical “U” or “move” tight end offers very little in that respect. All of that said, there is no reason to believe he can’t have a few more productive seasons, especially when he’s not operating as the No. 1 target like he was in Philadelphia.
After making the Pro Bowl for three straight years from 2017 to 2019, Ertz had a down year in 2020. He only played in 11 games due to injuries and he also recorded career-lows in receiving yards (335) and caught just one touchdown.
Ertz is 30 years old now but he could still provide a veteran presence for Dawson Knox and could give quarterback Josh Allen another reliable target in the passing game.
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Dawson Knox Has Showed Potential in First Two Years
In his first two years in the league, the former third-round pick has made 52 catches for 676 yards and five touchdowns. He’s shown potential, making big catches and big time plays in spurts but he’s also had his blunders.
Bringing in Ertz will provide another veteran voice for Knox’s as he continues to grow as an NFL player. He’s also built a connection with Allen the past two years and the pair connected for three touchdowns this past season along with 24 receptions for 288 yards. But, Beane is still looking for the young tight end to improve in his third season.
Other Tight End Options
Ertz is just one option for the Bills this offseason and they could also improve the position through free agency. Los Angeles Chargers tight end Hunter Henry is one of the top tight end free agent options. After a long stint in Minnesota, Kyle Rudolph was also released by the Vikings on Tuesday.
Tennessee Titans tight end Jonnu Smith is a free agent as well, along with New Orleans Saints tight end Jared Cook. All could be viable tight end options for the Bills if they look to address their needs through free agency.