NFL Rumors: Zach Ertz a favorite to land with Jacksonville Jaguars?

NFL Rumors: Zach Ertz a favorite to land with Jacksonville Jaguars?

Heading into the 2021 NFL Draft, the focus has slipped from the Jacksonville Jaguars, as they will presumably select Trevor Lawrence. However, could the Jaguars be a team to make a splash this weekend by trading for Philadelphia Eagles tight end Zach Ertz? On the Pro Football Network live show, Chief Draft Analyst and NFL Insider Tony Pauline shared the latest he is hearing around Ertz and the Jaguars.

Is Zach Ertz a target for the Jacksonville Jaguars?

With a glaring need on the Jaguars’ depth chart at tight end, could Ertz be the player to fill that hole? Pauline addressed the latest he heard ahead of the draft.

“I am hearing that the Jaguars would like to trade for tight end Zach Ertz. It is very unlikely to happen because if Howie Roseman of the Eagles trades Ertz to the Jaguars, Ertz is going to ask for a new contract.”

Ertz appears to either want to be traded to a contender or receive a new contract

Entering his age-30 season, Ertz is at an interesting point in his career. He already has one Super Bowl ring to his name on top of earning a considerable amount of money in his career. During the show, Pauline addressed what he hears regarding Ertz’s motivation following a trade.

“Ertz has about seven teams or so he wants to be traded to, primarily the Indianapolis Colts. If any of those teams that he is traded to is not a competitive team that is on the verge of making the playoffs or taking the next step in the playoffs, my feeling is, and my sources are, that he is going to ask for a new contract.”

The 2021 season is the final year of Ertz’s current contract. Therefore, it is logical that he would be looking to either play out that season with a contender or receive a new contract if the Eagles trade him to a team that will not immediately contend.

Ertz is coming off the worst season of his career

Ertz has been with the Eagles for eight seasons. During that time, he has played 117 games, racking up 561 receptions, 6,078 receiving yards, and 36 touchdowns. Ertz also owns a career catch rate of 67%. Yet, he is coming off a 2020 season in which he caught just 50% of his targets for 335 yards and 1 lone touchdown. All three of those numbers are career lows for Ertz.

Heading into 2020, Ertz was coming off the best two seasons of his career

The contrast of Ertz in 2020 against the prior two seasons is stark. He scored 14 touchdowns, added over 2,000 receiving yards, and pulled in 204 receptions on 291 targets. As such, a team may view Ertz as an ideal reclamation project in 2021. In his career, Ertz never finished a season with a catch rate below 50% before 2020. Additionally, he averaged over 10 yards per reception in each of his first seven seasons.

If a team believes that Ertz is still a top-tier tight end, they may be willing to trade for him. A rebuilding team could also be ready to commit significant resources to Ertz following the trade. Still, a trade to the Colts makes the most sense for Ertz. He would be reunited with Carson Wentz and former Eagles coach Frank Reich. Ertz could then play out the 2021 season in a familiar system, maximizing his value as a free agent in 2022.

If Ertz doesn’t go to Jacksonville, could Tim Tebow be an option?

As mentioned before, the Jaguars need to fill a need at the tight end position. Earlier, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported that Tim Tebow recently worked out for the Jaguars. According to his source, there has been at least some discussion of him signing as a tight end.

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Ben is the Managing Editor at Pro Football Network. He is also a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA). You can read all of Ben’s work here and follow him on Twitter: @BenRolfePFN.