Zach Ertz, Dallas Goedert Could be in Winner-Take-All Battle for Contract

The two tight ends are scheduled to be free agents, and the Eagles can't keep both, but which one they should keep, and potentially why, is examined here?
Author:
Updated:
Original:

It’s been nearly 100 years since Laurel turned to Hardy and said, “well, here’s another nice mess you’ve gotten me into” in their 1930 comedy short, Another Fine Mess.

Well, there’s nothing funny about the Eagles’ tight end situation, and it appears as if another mess is being made.

Not along the same lines as the mess the Eagles made of the Carson Wentz situation, but messy, nonetheless, when it comes to the front office’s handling of Dallas Goedert and Zach Ertz.

Dallas Goedert said earlier this summer that a new contract was being negotiated and added that he preferred a new deal prior to the start of the season in order to have some certainty about his future.

On Monday, Goedert told us that those same contract extension talks have now ceased.

Meanwhile, on Monday night, the Ravens signed tight end Mark Andrews to a four-year, $56 million dollar contract. He was drafted in the third round of the same 2018 NFL Draft that saw Goedert taken in the second round.

Andrews got his.

Goedert waits for his.

He doesn’t think it has to do with the return of Zach Ertz, however, but it’s difficult to believe that it doesn’t have to do with Zach Ertz.

Ertz wanted out this offseason, but the Eagles didn’t oblige him. Hard to blame them for that. They wanted what they considered fair value and the best offer they got was a fifth-round pick from Los Angeles Chargers.

So, now Ertz is back for one final season, which may not be his final season after all.

The Ertz domino has toppled into Goedert.

MORE: Dallas Goedert, Eagles Have Tabled Contract Extension Negotiations

The Eagles can’t keep both, but they can, and most likely, will keep at least one, but which one?

Is it even possible the Eagles could deal Goedert at the trade deadline, whereas the thinking was it would be Ertz, provided, of course, the Eagles are bumbling along in this year of transition?

On one hand, Goedert is younger. He will turn 27 in January; Ertz 31 in November.

On the other hand, Ertz has cemented a legendary career in Philadelphia, both on the field, where he was a major contributor in the Super Bowl LII triumph and set a record for most catches by a tight end, and off the field, where his charitable contributions know no bounds.

Ertz is talking again about wanting to retire with the Eagles, the way tight end Brent Celek did, after Goedert and the organization have made their apologies following an acrimonious contract situation that engulfed them for months.

That may be the winning equation, the whole legend thing, because age may not be a factor at all.

Consider that the Eagles have a pair of tight ends they like in Jack Stoll, 23, and Tyree Jackson, who turns 24 in November, and certainly looked in training camp that he will be able to successfully transition from quarterback to his new position.

Could the Eagles be thinking that Ertz would be the perfect teacher of experience to a pair of up-and-comers?

Ertz talked about this new role of being a mentor to the younger players.

“We have a young group, obviously, young receivers, young quarterback, so it’s fun to not only talk to these guys about on the field stuff, but the process of what it takes to be successful in this league off the field, mentally, dealing with some of the things off the field,” he said. “So, it’s kind of been a new season, a new chapter, of my football career.”

Here’s the kicker:

“I still feel like I have a lot of great football in me,” he said. “I don’t think I’m anywhere close to being done.”

If he can prove that over the course of the season that could win him a new deal, and the Eagles could enjoy the last laugh after he had been made available to the other 31 teams in a trade, but nobody wanted to give anything considered fair value in return.

Of course, Goedert can prove that he is worthy of winning that contract, too.

Either way, that’s what looks to be shaping up here, that the outcome of this messy situation will depend on how this season goes - maybe even just the first two months or so before the trade deadline - for each player in a winner-take-all battle for a new contract.

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 or www.eaglemaven.com and please follow him on Twitter: @kracze.