Contract Talk: Can Eagles Afford to Keep Both Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert?

Ed Kracz

Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert have been joined at the hip since Goedert arrived as a second-round draft pick in 2018.

The two Eagles' tight ends have become the foundation of the team’s offense and Ertz has emerged as the favorite target for quarterback Carson Wentz. 

Ertz, still just 29, could become the franchise’s all-time reception leader with 65 more, which would give him 590, one more than Hall of Famer Harold Carmichael.

Goedert is just 25 and on the rise. Set to enter his third season, he has nine career touchdowns and 91 catches for 941 yards.

Both have looming contract decisions that must be made by general manager Howie Roseman.

Can Roseman and the Eagles afford to keep both or, will they eventually detach from the hip following the 2020 season?

Yes, both are signed through 2021, so maybe the decision gets pushed back until then.

Roseman doesn’t want that.

Remember, the Eagles are expected to be about $51 million over the salary cap next year and that is before a likely decrease in the cap as the impact of the global pandemic is factored into the equation.

Ertz is set to count about $12.4 million against the salary cap in 2020 and 2021.

Meanwhile, Goedert’s rookie deal calls for him to earn a base salary below $1M this year and $1.2M in 2021.

That’s a big discrepancy between tight ends capable of putting up big offensive numbers.

While it’s true that Ertz and Wentz are great friends, the NFL is a business as we know and relationships didn’t stop Roseman from trading Wentz’s good friend, Jordan Matthews, three summers ago.

Something has to give, and there’s probably a better than 50-50 shot that what will give is Ertz being traded following the season and Goedert given a new deal.

Much can happen between now and March of 2021, of course, but right now, it seems to make financial sense that only one can stay and that would Goedert because age cannot be overlooked and Goedert is four years younger than Ertz.

It will be a sad day for Eagles fans and for the organization to let go of someone who has done so much on and off the field in the community. He will go down as one of the franchise's all-time greats if that day does come sooner rather than later.

Ertz is a team player and fierce competitor, a player who was willing to tinker with his contract in three straight years after signing a five-year extension in 2016 worth $42.5M.

In 2017, Ertz converted $3.2M of his salary to a bonus, which created $2.58M in cap relief, but added $645.000 to each remaining season on his contract.

In 2018, Ertz converted $7.21M of his base salary to a signing bonus which created $5.4 in cap room

In 2019, Ertz converted $7.1M to a bonus to give the Eagles $5.75M in cap space.

Roseman wanted to get something done with Ertz last fall when he generously handed out contract extensions Lane Johnson, Brandon Brooks, Jake Elliott, and Rick Lovato getting them. Ertz declined an extension.

Talk is now that Ertz will wait until he sees what San Francisco’s George Kittle gets in his next deal. Kittle is just 27 and is in the final year of his contract.

Who knows when Kittle's deal will be done? Contracts aren't exactly flowing like water right now as teams wait until they can give players physicals.

Phillies general manager Matt Klentak spoke last week about how the pandemic has impacted a potential new deal for catcher J.T. Realmuto, who, like Ertz, is one of the top three players at his position, if not at the very top of the catcher’s list.

“The landscape that we left in March is different from the one we return to now,” said Klentak in a call with reporters. “We just have to see how that manifests itself in our discussions. We still love the player, we’d still love to have him in red pinstripes for the long haul. But there’s a lot of uncertainty in the game right now on a variety of levels. We just need to play that out.”

Roseman might say the same thing about Ertz if the GM were to talk with reporters sometime this summer, but the reality is, the longer it takes to get a deal done, the increasingly more difficult it figures to get.

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