The expected split between Zach Ertz and the Eagles has been delayed for months as Philadelphia holds out hope for better compensation in a potential trade, but for anyone growing skeptical of Ertz's future departure, John McMullen of SI.com's EagleMaven reports the team has already taken several steps to prepare for 2021 and beyond without their longtime tight end. That includes targeting a "big-money contract extension" for Ertz's fellow tight end Dallas Goedert, as well as informing Ertz that Goedert will take the majority of snaps at the position regardless of who's on the roster.
"Both sides want to move on," McMullen wrote this week, "but Eagles (general manager) Howie Roseman has continued to play hardball when it comes to Ertz's value. ... What we do know is that the Eagles are planning for life after Ertz and trying to work out a (deal) with Goedert. More so, the team has informed Ertz that Goedert is going to get the lion's share of snaps at the position no matter what."
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New Eagles coach Nick Sirianni, meanwhile, "wants to move away from a two-tight end-centric offense and get more speed on the field," McMullen reported. Philadelphia recently re-signed veteran reserve Richard Rodgers, who would likely open 2021 as the team's No. 2 tight end in the event Ertz is dealt or released.
The reasons for Ertz's anticipated departure have been spelled out aplenty this offseason; the three-time Pro Bowler will forever be a legend in Philly for his eight years of steady production and Super Bowl LII performance, but at 30, coming off an injury, and in search of new scenery and perhaps a new contract, the ship has already unofficially sailed. As for Goedert, the former second-round pick admitted in June that he'd begun talks on a new deal.
Goedert, 26, is set to hit free agency after this season. The Eagles could conceivably use the 2022 franchise tag, projected at $11.3 million, to retain him after 2021. A long-term deal could net him something in the ballpark of $12-14 million per season, making him one of the NFL's top four highest-paid players at his position, after fellow tight ends Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith cashed in on deals paying $12.5 million per year this offseason. The Eagles would save $8.5 million this year by cutting or trading Ertz.