Zach Ertz has requested and been granted his release by the Cards and is hoping to sign with a contender, according to former teammate J.J. Watt.
Watt, the five-time all-pro edge rusher, tweeted the news Thursday about Ertz, who spent his first 8 ½ seasons with the Eagles and caught 579 passes – 2nd-most ever by an Eagle, just 10 fewer than Hall of Famer Harold Carmichael.
The Eagles traded Ertz to the Cards for cornerback Tay Gowan and a 5th-round pick six games into the 2021 season, but while Arizona was 5-0 when Ertz got there, they went 6-6 the rest of that year and 4-13 last year, and they’re 2-10 this year under 1st-year coach Jonathan Gannon, the Eagles’ defensive coordinator the last two seasons.
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Ertz caught 130 passes for 1,167 yards and eight TDs in 28 games for the Cards. He hasn’t played since Week 7 because of a quad injury. He had just 27 catches for 187 yards and one TD in seven games this year before he got hurt.
With the Eagles, Ertz was a record-setting tight end and a Super Bowl hero.
He caught 579 passes for 6,267 yards and 38 TDs in an Eagles uniform and made the Pro Bowl after the 2017, 2018 and 2019 seasons. In 2018, he set an NFL record for tight ends with 116 receptions.
In Super Bowl LII in Minneapolis after the 2017 season, Ertz made two of the biggest catches in Eagles history. After the Patriots had gone up 33-32, the Eagles faced a 4th-and-1 just shy of midfield with 5:39 left, and Ertz caught a short 1st-down pass from Nick Foles to extend the possession. Later on that drive, with 2:25 remaining, he caught an 11-yard TD pass from Foles to give the Eagles the lead for good on their way to the franchise's first championship in 57 years.
When Ertz was traded to the Cards, he said he’d love to return to the Eagles one day and make another run at Carmichael’s record.
Is that possible?
The Eagles are thin at tight end. Dallas Goedert is still recovering from a fracture in his arm and didn’t practice on Wednesday, Grant Calcaterra missed practice with an ankle injury Wednesday, and Calcaterra and Stoll have a combined four catches for 27 yards this year.
Ertz turned 33 last week and assuming he clears waivers, his current contract with the Cards – a three-year, $31.65 million deal he signed in March of 2022 – will disappear. Ertz is owed about $4.4 million the rest of this year and carries a $7.96 million base salary in 2024. Ertz has 709 career receptions, 8th-most in NFL history by a tight end and just five behind Jimmy Graham for seventh place.