One of the best players in NFL history, former Houston Texan & Arizona Cardinal J.J. Watt is no stranger to “breaking news” himself, rather than NFL insiders.
After all, he joked about how insiders used “per source” or would beat other athletes to their own announcements in the tweet where he officially announced his signing with Arizona back in 2021:
Even now that he’s retired as a player, Watt is at it again, this time with a former teammate (and Paradise Valley neighbor as seen on Hard Knocks 2022): Zach Ertz.
Here’s the announcement from Watt below from his Twitter account:
Trying new things in retirement, so let’s steal @AdamSchefter job for a day...— JJ Watt (@JJWatt) November 30, 2023
TE Zach Ertz has requested & been granted his release from the Arizona Cardinals.
The 3-Time Pro Bowler plans to sign with a contender and make a run at his 2nd Super Bowl ring.
(This is easy Adam) pic.twitter.com/pK4qCcCfay
That “Adam” being Adam Schefter of course, who responded by confirming the report from Watt.
Confirming @JJWatt: Cardinals and TE Zach Ertz are mutually parting ways, with Arizona deciding to move forward with its TE Trey McBride while giving Ertz the opportunity to finish out the season somewhere else, per sources. Ertz will go on waivers. https://t.co/Y6btKVKVZH— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) November 30, 2023
This likely means that Arizona is moving forward with 2nd round 2022 pick Trey McBride as their TE1 for the remaining season and moving forward.
And it’s no surprise.
McBride is on pace for one of the best years for a Cardinals TE of all-time with 48 catches for 545 yards, and had a 134 yard game against the Falcons earlier this season.
Previously, Ertz had been eligible to come off of IR but “nothing had changed” per Jonathan Gannon when interviewed yesterday.
With ESPN’s Josh Weinfuss reporting that he saw Cardinals GM Monti Ossenfort talking with Ertz yesterday, it seems as though they had a discussion that eventually led to his release.
Of course, it won’t be as easy for Ertz to simply walk to a new team.
He has to clear waivers first, but the fact that he has a $12 million cap hit for 2024 means that he might be affordable for this season for any team that would be in need of receiving help (such as the Jets or even the Carolina Panthers) but it seems more likely that he could clear waivers and end up on a playoff team.
This situation is similar to how Ertz ended up in Arizona in the first place.
In the final year of his contract, Zach Ertz was acquired from a 9-8 Eagles team for a 5th round pick by Arizona, who was a contending team at the time that had just lost Maxx Williams for the year.
Ertz made an instant impact for Arizona and it will be hopeful that he can have a similar impact for whatever organization claims or signs him this year.
What are your thoughts, Cardinals fans?
Should Arizona have held onto Ertz or are you ready for Trey McBride?