The trade rumors have quieted down to a scant whisper on Zach Ertz. Once the Buffalo Bills pulled out of talks, there was growing optimism that the Pro Bowl tight end might return to the Philadelphia Eagles in 2021.
Hold the phone. Or pick it back up. Ertz recently shared an Instagram photo showing himself and former Eagles linebacker Kamu Grugier-Hill on the court at a Sixers game. It wasn’t a recent picture — you know, COVID-19 protocols and all that — but the trip down memory lane had people talking on social media.
What does it mean? Was Ertz hinting at an impending trade to the Houston Texans where Grugier-Hill signed a one-year contract worth $3.25 million? Maybe.
More likely, Ertz was putting some pressure on the Eagles’ front office to send him to Texas. The Texans are thin at the tight end spot after cutting veteran Darren Fells last month and go into the 2021 campaign with 29-year-old Jordan Akins penciled in as the starter. And Akins’ backup, Pharaoh Brown, has little experience.
#Eagles TE Zach Ertz is growing “increasingly impatient” with the team to get something done, per NFL Network. The #Eagles have been looking for something in the 3rd or 4th round range and it doesn’t sound like teams are budging. Ertz’s base salary for 2021 is $8.5M.
— NFL Update (@MySportsUpdate) March 14, 2021
Remember, the Eagles have still not be ruled out of the Deshaun Watson sweepstakes despite the quarterback’s mounting legal problems. The price has actually gone down in recent weeks, leading some to ponder whether the Texans would be willing to cut ties with Watson for a smaller package. Ertz’s name has been mentioned softly in those discussions if he could be paired with a nice complement of draft picks. Stay tuned.
BRING US ZACH ERTZ #Texans https://t.co/utvu3GGCnk
— Dustin Page (@DustinMPage) March 16, 2021
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Grugier-Hill, Ertz Like Married Couple
Perhaps everyone is over-reaching here. Ertz and Grugier-Hill have maintained a close friendship for years so him sharing a nice bonding moment isn’t necessarily breaking news. The two former teammates are represented by the same agent, Steve Caric, and put on a football clinic at Faith Lutheran in 2019.
Not only that, Grugier-Hill revealed that he and Ertz “bicker like a married couple” at times. They also share a deep bond from their shared religious faith.
“Me and Zach just kind of elevated toward each other and stuff, and every year our friendship just grew and grew,” Grungier-Hill said in a 2019 interview. “And we’re both competitive and we go against each other a lot [in practice], especially at training camp. It’s just every little thing, with the jokes and every day, it’s something new.”
Eagles GM Comments on Ertz’s Trade Value
Eagles general manager Howie Roseman has continually stated that it has to make sense for the team to trade Ertz. They aren’t just going to give him away, even if that’s the outcome the three-time Pro Bowler prefers. It was reported several months ago that he was growing “increasingly impatient” by the process. Roseman knows what his value is.
“We’re talking about a 30-year-old guy,” Roseman said. “We’re not talking about a guy in his mid-30s. His skill set, we felt like he had tremendous production going forward left in him. We still feel that way about Zach.”
Lane Johnson: ‘You won’t see anyone happier than me’ if Zach Ertz remains with Eagles https://t.co/QneQuDMAtW
— KFH Radio (@kfhradio) April 10, 2021
Lane Johnson also understands how talented Ertz is and his preference would be to see him return in midnight green. But his long-time teammate also knows the reality of the NFL being a business.
“He felt like he was heading somewhere else, but in this business you really don’t know what’s going to happen,” Johnson told Birds365 in early April. “If he’s back, you won’t see anyone happier than me as far as wanting a teammate back and a great friend.”