Philadelphia Eagles star Zach Ertz very likely to be off the roster by Week 1

Zach Ertz: Philadelphia Eagles
Dec 20, 2020; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Philadelphia Eagles tight end Zach Ertz (86) against the Arizona Cardinals at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Philadelphia Eagles tight end Zach Ertz is beloved by the fan base for all the contributions made across eight seasons with the team. With the organization going through major changes, an exit for the three-time Pro Bowl selection seems inevitable.

Both sides tried to make the relationship last this past summer, negotiating a long-term deal. But contract negotiations went south quickly, leading to some friction and ultimately resulting in Philadelphia listening to trade offers before the in-season deadline.

A deal never came to fruition, but the writing was on the wall. Ertz wanted out after the season ended and general manager Howie Roseman put him on the block. Multiple teams called and word spread that a blockbuster trade was imminent, but it never came to fruition. Even after failing to move him during the NFL Draft, it seems both sides are still ready for a separation.

Read More: Why Philadelphia Eagles couldn’t trade Zach Ertz during 2021 NFL Draft

NBC Sports’ Dave Zangaro wrote there is a “very good chance’ Ertz won’t be on the Eagles’ depth chart when the NFL season begins, either being released or traded by the franchise.

Teams have legitimate concerns about giving up significant draft capital for Ertz. He missed more than a month with a high-ankle sprain this past season, appearing in only 11 games. He played through a lacerated kidney and rib fracture in 2019 and has dealt with multiple lower-body injuries earlier in his career.

  • Zach Ertz stats (2017-’19): 278 receptions, 2,903 receiving yards, 22 touchdowns, 69.3% catch rate and 10.4 yards per reception in 45 games
  • Zach Ertz stats (2020): 36 receptions, 335 receiving yards, one touchdown, 50% catch rate and 9.3 yards per reception in 11 games

Related: Philadelphia Eagles expected to get minimal return in Zach Ertz trade

Early in the offseason, the Los Angeles Chargers and Buffalo Bills expressed the most interest in Ertz. When Roseman wouldn’t drop the asking price from a third-round pick, they moved on.

With the NFL Draft behind them and even fewer bidders, the Eagles need to prepare themselves for a light return in a trade. Given how late it is in the offseason, they might have to settle for releasing him and taking the created cap space as the incentive.