PHILADELPHIA – With their second cornerback addition in four days, there is no doubt that the Eagles have quantity at the position.
The question is, do they have quality?
After Darius Slay it’s a host of others without much of an NFL resume, aside from Avonte Maddox, whose job experience on the opposite side of Slay showed just how limited he is on the outside.
The NFC East may have been a joke last year, but the division is no laughing matter with the caliber of receivers each team has.
Dallas has Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb, and Michael Gallup.
New York has free agent signings Kenny Golladay and John Ross to go with Sterling Shepard, and first-round pick Kadarius Toney.
Washington has Terry McLaurin, free-agent pickup Curtis Samuel, Antonio Gandy Golden, and third-round pick Dyami Brown.
Does Howie Roseman really want DC Jonathan Gannon to go to battle against these pass-catchers with Slay, Maddox, Michael Jacquet, Shakial Taylor, the two latest newcomers, Nate Meadors, who signed on last Friday, and Josiah Scott, who was acquired in a deal with the Jaguars on Tuesday, and others?
Does the general manager really want to put all his trust in a defensive line that, yes, should once again be a team strength, may not be able to get to the quarterback consistently enough - especially the QBs with quick releases - to make the back end look presentable?
I’m going with no and no for the answers to those two questions.
Roseman has done a nice job after the draft adding talent such as running back Kerryon Johnson and pass rusher Ryan Kerrigan along with building competition in the CB room, so there has to be a level of confidence that he will continue to address the position.
That brings us to Zach Ertz. The tight end feels like the lynchpin in whatever cornerback move is made.
Ertz did not show up for the start of Phase Two of the offseason program on Tuesday and isn’t expected to show over the next two weeks when OTAs will be held before the players will disburse into their summer and not return until training camp opens.
Ertz has wanted out since the regular season ended, even bidding an emotional farewell shortly following its conclusion.
Reports about Ertz being moved circulated throughout the offseason, with one indicating that he would be traded during the recent NFL draft. He wasn’t.
Roseman wants what he wants for his former Pro Bowl tight end, who he believes has plenty left in the tank even after a disappointing 2020 season.
Roseman is right when he said that it was a disappointing season for everyone, not just Ertz, during the team’s hideous march to a 4-11-1 record. He’s not just going to give away a player that holds value in his eyes.
Right now, it feels like a game of chicken on who will blink first.
Will it be Roseman by simply releasing Ertz on June 1?
Or will it be a team that, after examining its roster this summer, decides to give Roseman what he wants?
Green Bay comes to mind with the second question. Aaron Rodgers is disgruntled. He and Ertz are friends. Would acquiring Ertz make him any happier or has that ship sailed for the Hall of Fame QB?
After tight end Robert Tonyan, there isn't much at that position in Green Bay. Also, the Packers were one of the teams interested in acquiring Ertz at last year's trade deadline.
So, perhaps the Packers would be willing to part with CB Kevin King after drafting corner Eric Stokes in the first round.
As for the first question, the Eagles would save all of Ertz’s $8.5 million salary against their cap that, at the moment, is running on fumes, thanks in large part for the mammoth $33.8M bill due for trading Carson Wentz.
Prior to Monday's signing of Kerrigan, who will reportedly earn up to $3.5M, the Eagles sat at $4.31 under the cap, per overthecap.com, so that number will be reduced further with nine draft picks still to sign.
When asked about Ertz this offseason, Roseman has said he wants a deal that is fair to all parties.
At this point, releasing Ertz would accomplish fairness.
That way, he could choose the team he wants to play with, negotiating a new deal in the process.
Roseman wins because he will have some added cash to spend on a cornerback like Nelson.
That is a win-win.
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.