PHILADELPHIA - Eagles general manager Howie Roseman expects veteran tight end Zach Ertz to be on the team's roster Week 1 in Atlanta.
The three-time Pro Bowl tight end has been rumored in trade discussions dating back to last season and the writing seemed to be on the wall after Ertz essentially offered an emotional goodbye via Zoom after the 2020 season.
Roseman, though, has always insisted he wasn't about to give Ertz away, an all-time franchise great who is under contract through 2021 and is on track to break Hall of Famer Harold Carmichael's franchise record for receptions.
Faced with more substantive fines that could reach up to $50,000 per day under the new CBA, holding out wasn't an option for Ertz, so the 30-year-old TE reported for camp with a new bleached-blonde hairdo and a place in the offense although it was clear Dallas Goedert was the TE1 in 11 personnel on Day 1 on training camp.
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Ertz worked a bit in 7-on-7s and a few team drills and mixed in with the ones himself before Roseman took to the podium to offer detente and the Week 1 prediction.
"Yeah," Roseman answered when asked if he expects Ertz to be on the Eagles roster against the Falcons. "I think when you talk about the guys that are here and the kind of player that he is, and you think about our young skill position group, and having a Pro Bowl player like that on your roster who players can learn from, it's huge. It's huge for us."
Many around the league believe Roseman is playing chicken into the summer hoping for an injury or perhaps a realization from a contending team that they could use a TE.
Adding ammunition to that sentiment is Ertz's reputation as a professional not affecting things negatively.
"All he wants to do is play football,” Roseman said. “He knows what kind of player he is. When we look at last year, it was an embarrassment for this organization and this team. A lot of us have a chip on our shoulder."
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Rookie head coach Nick Sirianni got his first look at the tight end on Wednesday because Ertz skipped voluntary work in the spring when it seemed like a trade remained likely.
“We just want to get him out there and see what he can do in person,” Sirianni said. “I’ve seen plenty of tape on Zach and everything he has done. He’s been such a good player in this league for so long.
"We just are getting him here in person and seeing how we can use him. That’s our job as coaches, figuring out how we can use each player and see what we can do to take advantage of their abilities, and Zach is no different.”
Sirianni also balked at the notion that Ertz's presence will force him into playing more 12 personnel (two tight ends), and away from his preferred default setting of 11 (three receivers).
"I think Zach's presence makes you more multiple of what you can do," he said. "You have your 11-personnel things. Now the defense has to prepare for all your 11 stuff. You have your 21-speed stuff that the defense has to prepare for because you have these different pieces. Then they have to prepare for the 12 stuff.
"You might be running similar things out of each one of those sets, but out of different formations, out of different personnel groups and it looks completely different to the defense."
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Sirianni further explained his philosophy is based on the players available to him.
"What we always talk about is if we are in 11 because that's where you might be going, who does things better? Who’s better at this route? Who’s better at this route? It's a blend. It's always been that way," the coach said. "In fact, teams that I've been on have always had two good tight ends and it was always a blend of how you use them and what you use them as.
"Just that multiplicity of being able to use 12 personnel and be dangerous there. It's different between 12-personnel because we have two tight ends and 12-personnel because we have two tight ends that can roll. Puts a ton of stress on the defense."
Ertz did not speak after practice on Wednesday.
John McMullen contributes Eagles coverage for SI.com's EagleMaven and is the NFL Insider for JAKIB Media. You can listen to John, alongside legendary sports-talk host Jody McDonald every morning from 8-10 on ‘Birds 365,” streaming live on both PhillyVoice.com and YouTube. John is also the host of his own show "Extending the Play" on AM1490 in South Jersey. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen
Ed Kracz is the publisher of SI.com’s Eagle Maven and co-host of the Eagles Unfiltered Podcast. Check out the latest Eagles news at www.SI.com/NFL/Eagles and please follow him on Twitter: @kracze.