Cowboys Trade Scenario Sees Dallas Acquire 3-Time Pro Bowl Tight End

Mike McCarthy

Getty The Cowboys could consider trading for Cardinals TE Zach Ertz.

The Dallas Cowboys could be the ideal landing spot for Arizona Cardinals tight end Zach Ertz.

As suggested by Bleacher Report’s Alex Ballentine, the Cowboys “would make sense” in a potential trade for Ertz prior to the start of the season. Ballentine argues that Dallas is looking for a playmaker to fill in at tight end following the offseason departure of Dalton Schultz. Instead of relying on young players such as second-year tight end Jake Ferguson or second-round pick Luke Schoonmaker, Dallas could instead use a three-time Pro Bowler veteran.

“The Cowboys would make sense as a landing spot,” writes Ballentine. “After letting Dalton Schultz walk in free agency, they will be putting a lot of stock in second-year tight end Jake Ferguson and rookie Luke Schoonmaker. Unlike Arizona, they figure to be a contender. It would make sense to add a veteran like Ertz who could elevate the floor of the position group.”

Why Ertz Could Be Perfect Addition for Cowboys

Despite being 32 years of age, Ertz remains a productive tight end. Prior to suffering a knee injury that cut short his season last year, the former Philadelphia Eagles playmaker posted 47 receptions for 406 receiving yards and four touchdowns in 10 games.

While his yards per reception (8.6) was the lowest of his 10-year career, his catch percentage (68.1%) was the fourth-highest of his career and his receptions per game (4.7) was on par with his career average. In other words, Ertz may not be the high-profile playmaker he was when he turned in a 116-reception, 1,163-yard campaign during the 2018 season, but he remains a steady and consistent threat.

As far as the argument for why the Cardinals should part ways with their most proven offensive weapon following the departure of DeAndre Hopkins, it’s simple — they’re rebuilding. Arizona will be without starting quarterback Kyler Murray to begin the season and could very well be out during the first half of the season due to a torn ACL.

Futhermore, Arizona could save a boatload of money by trading Ertz and build around second-year tight end Trey McBride, who posted 29 receptions for 265 receiving yards during his rookie season.

“The Cards would save $10.1 million by trading the veteran tight end,” writes Ballentine. “With Jonathan Gannon taking over as head coach and Kyler Murray’s questionable timeline to return to start the season, they should be thinking long-term.”

Why Cowboys Are Unlikely to Trade for Zach Ertz

While Ertz’s experience indicates he could be the perfect acquisition for a Super Bowl-contending squad, the Cowboys may be scared off due to his contract. Ertz still has two years left on a three-year, $31.7 million deal he signed with the Cardinals during the 2022 offseason. Ertz is due to earn $8.8 million in base salary this season — the fifth-highest paid tight end in the NFL — and nearly $8 million during the 2024 season. If Dallas were to move off of Ertz during the 2024 offseason, it would cost $5 million in dead cap money.

While the Cowboys are extremely young at the tight end position — their top three tight ends are all 24 years of age — they appear confident in their young playmakers. When considering Ertz’s salary and Dallas’ abundance of quality young tight ends, it’s hard to envision the Cowboys making this trade before the start of the 2023 season.

The deal makes more sense as a potential midseason trade if Ferguson and Schoonmaker struggle early on.

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