Bills reportedly drop out of trade market for Zach Ertz

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The Bills are no longer a potential landing spot for Eagles tight end Zach Ertz, according to Marcel Louis-Jacque, who covers the Bills for ESPN NFL Nation.

Louis-Jacque said multiple sources told him the Eagles’ asking price for Ertz was “as high as a 3rd-round pick,” which presumably means the Eagles would not lower their price tag of a 3rd-round pick in exchange for the 30-year-old Ertz, whose production dropped dramatically last year.

Louis-Jacque reported earlier Friday that the Bills had agreed to contract terms with 27-year-old tight end Jacob Hollister, who has 74 catches for 652 yards and six touchdowns in four NFL seasons with the Patriots and Seahawks.

The Bills haven’t had a tight end with 700 yards in a season since 1967.

The Eagles have been trying to trade Ertz, a three-time Pro Bowler, but GM Howie Roseman said on Thursday the Eagles aren’t going to just give him away.

“Zach’s been a huge part of the success we’ve had since we drafted him,” Roseman said. “He is a heck of a player, he is a heck of a person and we value him,” Roseman said. “And for us to trade any player, it’s got to make sense for both sides. It’s got to make sense for the Philadelphia Eagles, too.”

The Bills, Chargers and Patriots were all seen as possible destinations for Ertz, but the Patriots signed free agents Jonnu Smith and Hunter Henry, and the Chargers signed Jared Cook to replace Henry. Now the Bills, who probably made the most sense for Ertz, are apparently no longer in the mix either.

It’s not easy to gauge Ertz’s value. Even though he had a career-worst year in 2020 and missed five games, he’s only a year removed from an 88-catch, 916-yard Pro Bowl season. His 525 catches through last Nov. 10 are 3rd-most in NFL history by a tight end before his 30th birthday. His 561 total receptions are 12th-most in NFL history by a tight end.

Ertz has reportedly made it known he’s willing to go to a new team without a new contract. He’s due $8.25 million in 2021 on the final year of a five-year, $42.5 million extension.

It appeared last summer that the Eagles and Ertz were closing in on a long-term extension that would keep Ertz in Philadelphia. But talks broke down when Ertz felt the Eagles were lowballing him then had a disappointing season and watched his close friend and quarterback Carson Wentz get traded.

Now it appears the rebuilding Eagles are more interested in the $4.7 million cap savings they would get by unloading Ertz than having him spend a ninth season in Philadelphia.

But if the price tag really is a 3rd-round pick they may have trouble finding a taker.

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