The Philadelphia Eagles are keeping their star tight end on the books through 2021, as the franchise is exercising Zach Ertz's 2021 option. He's on the books for $8 million this season and then $8.25 million in 2021. Back in January of 2016, the Eagles signed their former second-round pick to a five-year extension. As this news indicates, there was a potential out in 2021, but the Eagles plan on keeping Ertz on the roster for as long as possible (per Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network).
The Eagles also exercised the contract options of five other players: Carson Wentz, Brandon Graham, Alshon Jeffery, Malik Jackson, and Isaac Seumalo.
Since signing that extension ahead of the 2016 season, Ertz has put up some of his best numbers.In 2019, the 29-year-old caught 88 passes for 916 yards and six touchdowns. His best season actually came in 2018, when he caught a career-high 116 passes for 1,163 yards and eight touchdowns. Those 116 receptions are the most a tight end has recorded in a single season in NFL history.
Pelissero also reports that talks on another extension for Ertz are likely to pick up in the coming months as well, which could increase the $8.25 million he's due in 2021. The Eagles have locked up Wentz for at least three more years and they want to make sure they lock up his primary target as well. Ertz owns franchise records for most receptions in a single game (14), and most receptions in a single season (116).
In 106 career games, Ertz has caught 525 passes for 5,743 yards and 35 touchdowns. The first-team All-Pro has evolved into one of the best tight ends in the league and has worked hard to maintain that reputation over the past few seasons.
Wentz's option had to be exercised by Friday or else his 2020 salary jumped to $31.383 million and the remaining years of the four-year, $128 million extension he signed last offseason were void. Wentz will have a base salary of $1.383 million in 2020 with a cap hit of $18,656,536 (per Over The Cap).
Jeffery's option is an interesting one considering the Eagles' situation with the wide receiver. There was speculation whether Jeffery would remain with the team, given the Eagles could have released him with the post-June 1 designation.
Jeffery would cost $16.639 million in dead money in 2020 and $9.467 million in 2021 with the designation, per CBS Sports NFL writer Joel Corry. The Eagles have a way out of Jeffery's contract, especially given his relationship with Carson Wentz and the Lisfranc injury that may cause him to miss Week 1 of the regular season.
Instead they picked up an option of $1.725 million for 2020, backing up what Eagles general manager Howie Roseman said regarding Jeffery's future with the team Thursday.
"Some things that people don't get to see is that this guy wants to win world championships in Philly," Roseman said. "He has told me recently how much he wants to win for our fans, for our city. It is important for him to be a Philadelphia Eagle and work hard.
"He understands what people feel about him right now and he's not sitting there feeling sorry for himself. He's trying to work to remind people the kind of player that he's been for our football team.
"The priority for Alshon is to get healthy. Just talking to our PR staff and hearing the narrative of Alshon, he's a good player. I think we lose sight of that a little bit and the things he can do when he's healthy. The toughness that he's shown in trying to bring a championship to our city, which he helped tremendously -- and to have another one."
Graham will earn a $1.36 million base salary in 2020 with a cap hit of $6.288 million, which takes place in result of the Eagles restructuring his deal in 2019. Seumalo gets an $800,000 option bonus in 2020 so the 2022-2024 years of the contract kick in.
Jackson had a $2.4 million option bonus that had to be exercised in 2020, or his 2020 salary increased to $10 million. Instead, Jackson will make $1.05 million in base salary this season.