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5 ideal Zach Ertz landing spots after Pro Bowl tight end clears waivers

One of the most accomplished tight ends of the past decade suddenly became available for any NFL team to sign on Thursday afternoon with the announcement of Zach Ertz’ release from the Arizona Cardinals. As reported by his former Cardinals teammate and future Hall of Famer J.J. Watt, Ertz requested his release from Arizona, who currently has the NFL’s second-worst record heading into Week 13.

Yet, Ertz isn’t ready to retire from pro football. Instead, the 33-year-old California native wishes to land with a top Super Bowl contender in the hopes of chasing his second NFL championship ring.

But before Ertz can sign a contract, he must first clear waivers, as teams are unlikely to pay his remaining $2.43 million salary for the rest of the season. While any team can technically place a waiver claim on Ertz, he’s expected to clear waivers, where he’ll have his choice of landing with a contender of his choosing. But which teams might interest the three-time Pro Bowl tight end? Here are just a few contenders that come to mind.

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Miami Dolphins add a weapon at tight end

The Miami Dolphins used to have a near Pro Bowl caliber tight end in Mike Gesicki, but for whatever reason the fit wasn’t right for Mike McDaniel’s scheme. Durham Smythe doesn’t see a lot of targets in this offense, yet he’s been fighting through an ankle injury as of late. Ertz would be an immediate improvement over the backups on Miami’s roster, and could even bring an added element to this offense as a safety valve over the middle.

Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle dominate the target share from Tua Tagovailoa, but it never hurts to have more pass-catchers in Coach McDaniel’s offense. Ertz would also benefit greatly from the field-stretching ability of Hill and Waddle, leading to reduced attention, and hopefully, being wide open.

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Baltimore Ravens find a veteran replacement for Mark Andrews

baltimore ravens
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With Mark Andrews possibly facing a season-ending injury, now Lamar Jackson is without his top target from four of the past five seasons. There’s no replacing the All-Pro tight end, but Ertz could certainly help.

Isaiah Likely, Baltimore’s fourth-round pick from 2022, is doing is best to fill in for Andrews, but he’s already dropped two out of his 15 targets thus far. While he’s undoubtedly going to improve over time, the Ravens need better production right now, and Ertz can be an immediate Band-Aid.

Patrick Mahomes gets more help with addition of Ertz

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If getting his second Super Bowl ring is at the top of the agenda for Ertz, then joining Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes may be his best option. Offensively, the Kansas City Chiefs may not be operating like a well-oiled machine just yet, but this core has played for the Lombardi Trophy in three of the past four seasons, adding two pieces of hardware to their trophy case.

One of the biggest perceived weaknesses for the Chiefs thus far has been a lack of consistency from the team’s pass-catchers. Kansas City’s receivers have dropped more passes than any other team heading into Week 13, and while that could improve over time, adding Ertz may be part of the solution too.

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Dallas Cowboys add a former division rival

If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. Only in this case, it’s more like the Cowboys couldn’t beat Ertz, and now require his help to beat his old team too.

While the Cowboys managed to finally find a temporary replacement after Jason Witten’s retirement, Dalton Schultz’s reign in Dallas didn’t last long before he departed for Houston. Now the Cowboys are left trying to develop Jake Ferguson, Luke Schoonmaker, and Peyton Hendershot. It’s a formidable trio, but Hendershot’s been on injured reserve while dealing with an ailing ankle.

Adding Ertz would give Dak Prescott a reliable No. 2 tight end who can emerge as another threat in the red zone. While his 62 percent catch rate is a bit lower than his career 66 percent mark, it’s still higher than any other Dallas tight end not named Ferguson this season. If Ertz wants to chase another ring while playing in a high-powered offense, he might not find a better fit than the highest-scoring offense in the NFL today.

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Philadelphia Eagles bring back a fan favorite with Zach Ertz

philadelphia eagles
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If Ertz wants to play for a Super Bowl contender, is there any better fit than returning to Philadelphia? His replacement, Dallas Goedert, has missed the past two games with an elbow injury, and he still hasn’t returned to practice since. While Goedert’s not expected to be out for much longer, we’ve seen the Eagles’ lack of depth at tight end over the past few weeks.

Still ranked fifth on the franchise’s career receiving yards list, Ertz is already a fan favorite in Philadelphia. Not to mention, the verbiage of the offense should be largely the same from his first go-around in coach Nick Sirianni’s scheme, meaning the Eagles would offer Ertz the shortest acclimation period to hit the ground running. Not to mention, his chemistry with Jalen Hurts shouldn’t take long to rekindle, either. Ultimately, there isn’t a better free agent fit for Ertz than landing in Philadelphia with the Eagles again.

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