The Philadelphia Eagles are granting Zach Ertz permission to seek a trade, according to a report from NFL Network reporter Ian Rapoport. “Several teams” are engaged in trade talks. That means the three-time Pro Bowl tight end could be playing for a new team for the first time in his career. Could the Buffalo Bills be his destination? Given the disappointing returns by Buffalo’s tight ends in 2020, it’s possible. Consider what general manager Brandon Beane had to say about the unit after the season: ”It was never where the opposing defense was like, ‘Man we’ve really got to stop their tight ends from going off.” Bills beat reporters Joe Buscaglia of The Athletic and Marcel Louis-Jacques of ESPN seem to think the Bills could inquire about Ertz, at the very least.
Since 2014, Ertz ranks second among NFL tight ends in total receptions and receiving yards. From 2017 through 2019, Ertz made three consecutive Pro Bowls, averaging 93 catches, 968 yards, and seven touchdowns per year. However, his 2020 season was the worst of his career. Ertz dealt with a high-ankle sprain, poor quarterback play, and a dysfunctional team that ended up firing its head coach and trading its franchise quarterback after the season.
If Ertz is fully healthy in 2021, he would be exactly what the Bills are looking for: a productive veteran tight end who can put some fear into defensive coordinators. He could be an every-down starter and position Dawson Knox as an athletic change-up option.
Ertz is in the middle of a restructured five year, $42 million contract. He’s set to make $8.25 million in salary this year, and has a club option to return to his team in 2022.