Zach Ertz was overcome with emotion when speaking to the media in what could be his last days as a Philadelphia Eagle.
The Philadelphia Eagles went out of the 2020 season with a whimper, as they lost to the Washington Football Team to finish their season 4-11-1, dead last in the NFC East. While many are focused on head coach Doug Pederson’s decision to bench quarterback Jalen Hurts in favor of Nate Sudfeld in the fourth quarter of a winnable game, what was glossed over is that this could be the final time Eagles fans see Carson Wentz, Jason Kelce and Zach Ertz in Philadelphia.
Reality kicked in on Monday during the Eagles’ end of season press conference. During his Zoom call, Ertz broke down in tears when talking about his experience playing for the Eagles. He said he’d like to continue playing for Philadelphia, but stressed that he doesn’t know what the next year holds for him.
Ertz’s days in Philadelphia were numbered prior to the season
The writing had been on the wall for Ertz prior to the start of the season.
FanSided’s own Matt Verderame reported before the season that both the Eagles and Ertz had broken off contract talks, and that the 2020 campaign could be the tight end’s last in Philadelphia, even though he has two more years left on his current deal. Additionally, a source told FanSided that the Eagles are enamored with fellow tight end Dallas Goedert, which further pushed Ertz out the door.
It’s no secret that the Eagles are currently in cap hell, thanks in part to the lucrative contract the team gave quarterback Carson Wentz. According to Over the Cap, the Eagles are projected to be nearly $71 million over the cap entering the 2021 league year. The Eagles could rid themselves of the $8.25 million owed to the 30-year-old in 2021 by releasing him with a post-June 1 designation.
When healthy, Ertz is up there with Travis Kelce of the Kansas City Chiefs as one of the best tight ends in the game. However, he was riddled by an ankle injury that forced him to miss five games. In the 11 contests he was on the field, the tight end caught 36-of-72 targets for 335 yards and one touchdown.
In his eight years in Philadelphia, Ertz recorded 561 catches for 6,078 yards and 36 touchdowns. Besides his stats, Ertz made the Pro Bowl three times and won Super Bowl 52, the first in Eagles franchise history.
As Ertz said, he has no clue what his future will hold. Even though he cherished his time with the Eagles, he knows that the NFL is a business. With the Eagles entering cost-cutting mode, Ertz’s contract is the first and probably easiest for the team to part ways with. Regardless of where he ends up, Ertz will be suiting up for next season.