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Ertz Trade Ripple-Effects

Philadelphia Eagles v Arizona Cardinals Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Apparently, TE Zach Ertz knew that last night would be his last game with the Philadelphia Eagles, the team that drafted him in the 2nd round of the 2013 NFL Draft.

After months of trade speculations, thanks in good part to Ertz’s recent decline in play due to a high ankle injury in 2020 and the emergence of the Eagles’ 2nd round pick in 2018, Dallas Goedert, Zach Ertz is now headed to the Arizona Cardinals for 2021 6th Round draft pick CB Tay Gowan and the Cardinals’ 2022 5th Round pick.

Per Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zach_Ertz)

Zach Ertz’s NFL records:

  • Most receptions in a single season by a tight end: 116 (2018)[89]

Zach Ertz’s Eagles franchise records:

  • Most receptions in a single game: 15
  • Most receptions in a single season: 116 (2018)

Career Regular Season Receiving stats:

  • 579 receptions for 6,267 yards, 10.86 ave., 38 TDs (1 caught last night versus Bucs)

Career Post-Season Receiving stats:

  • 33 receptions, 360 yards, 10.9 ave., 2 TDs (1 was his game winning TD in Super Bowl LII)

Zach Ertz’s Pro Bowls:

  • 2017, 2018, 2019

Zach Ertz’s Top NFL 100 Players Rankings:

  • 68th in 2018
  • 40th in 2019
  • 85th in 2020

2017 Zach Ertz’s NFC Championship Game and Super Bowl stats:

  • “On January 21, 2018, Ertz made his first career start in the playoffs and caught eight passes for 93-yards during a 38–7 victory against the Minnesota Vikings in the NFC Championship.”
  • “On February 4, 2018, Ertz started in Super Bowl LII and caught seven passes for 67-yards and a touchdown. During the fourth quarter, he caught the go-ahead touchdown reception on a seven-yard pass by Nick Foles, after beating safety Devin McCourty on a slant route, to put the Eagles up 38–33. The Philadelphia Eagles defeated the New England Patriots 41–33 to win Super Bowl LII, marking their first Super Bowl victory in franchise history.”

Notes:

  • Apparently, Jordan Hicks had been “recruiting” Zach Ertz for a couple of weeks now.

According to Yahoo Sports through NBC Sports ((https://www.yahoo.com/entertainment/eagles-trade-zach-ertz-cardinals-151116292.html)

The Mesa and Watt Connections

  • “Ertz reportedly told those close to him he’d be interested in joining the Cardinals and his wife, two-time World Cup champion Julie Ertz, grew up in nearby Mesa.”
  • Julie Ertz plays for the Chicago Red Stars of the NWSL with Kealia Watt, the wife of Cardinals defensive end J.J. Watt. “

Trade Value:

Comments:

  • I’m guessing that particularly after Zach Ertz scored on a nice TD last night, Eagles’ GM Howie Roseman’s phone was getting lit up with calls from a few TE needy teams, which may be why the Cardinals had to include CB Tay Gowan in the deal.
  • I agree with Kyle Odegard that Gowan, plus a 2022 5th was a lot to give up for a 30 (31 in November) year-old 2022 unrestricted free agent who is coming off his least productive season in 2020 (having missed a month and half of games for a high ankle sprain) and who has been overshadowed in Philly by Dallas Geodert.
  • The Cardinals felt highly enough about Tay Gowan that they chose not to risk waiving him. However, despite the Cardinals’ injuries at CB, Gowan had not as yet played a single regular season snap.

In the pre-season, Tay Gowan’s 2 game PFF grades:

  • Overall: 56.1
  • Run Defense: 49.3
  • Tackling: 37.9 (5 solo tackles, 2 assists, 2 missed tackles).
  • Coverage: 56.1 (5 catches on 9 targets, 55.6% for 77 yards, 14.1 ave., 1 penalty, 0 TDs)
  • Opting out of playing at UCF in 2020 to protect his daughter from COVID, after playing only one season (albeit at a high level in 2019), is the main reason why Gowan slid into the 6th round. And it could be the main reason why his development with the Cardinals hasn’t quite been as swift as he and Cardinals’ fans had hoped.
  • However, as tough to have to include Tay Gowan in this trade, the Cardinals are expected to have three 2022 compensatory picks (per nfl.com):

Arizona Cardinals (per https://www.nfl.com/news/2022-nfl-draft-compensatory-pick-projections-for-every-team)

“ Projected compensatory picks: One in Round 5; two in Round 7.

Key free-agent losses: Dan Arnold (Panthers), Angelo Blackson (Bears), Kenyan Drake (Raiders), Patrick Peterson (Vikings), Haason Reddick (Panthers).

Key free-agent additions: A.J. Green, Matt Prater.

  • Comp-pick analysis: “The Reddick and Drake losses will be offset by the additions of Green and Prater. Peterson’s departure will earn the Cardinals a fifth-round pick while the losses of Arnold and Blackson will bring in seventh-round selections.”
  • 2023 Compensatory Picks: If the Cardinals do not re-sign Zach Ertz as a UFA in 2022, then his signing with another team may help the Cardinals acquire a 2023 comp pick.

Conclusion:

  • Kudos to Steve Keim because this is the kind of mid-season trade that contenders make to address a position of need, made all the more necessary by the loss of Maxx Williams due to a knee injury in the midst of his breakout season. It’s quite possible that because of Ertz’s catch passing prowess, the Cardinals might have traded for Ertz even if Maxx Williams had stayed healthy.
  • It’s reasonable to assume that the Cardinals had some heated competition from other teams that may have been interested in Zach Ertz, a 3 time Pro Bowler who has had valuable success in the post-season (4-3 record), a Halas Trophy and a Super Bowl ring to show for it.
  • This could be very much like the Markus Golden trade last year (after Chandler Jones was injured) where Zach Ertz feels reinvigorated to the point where he becomes highly enamored with the Cardinals and with Arizona, particularly seeing how his wife Julie is from Mesa and is a teammate of Kealia Watt.