The Arizona Cardinals move quickly. Just days after emerging tight end Maxx Williams suffered a season-ending knee injury, general manager Steve Keim is acquiring Philadelphia Eagles tight end Zach Ertz in a trade. The deal was first reported by Ian Rapoport and Mike Garafolo and was then quickly confirmed by both organizations. Arizona is sending rookie cornerback Tay Gowan and a 2022 fifth-round selection to Philadelphia in order to secure Ertz’s services.
It projects as an excellent deal for the NFL’s lone undefeated team. It’s easy to envision Ertz immediately stepping into a prominent role as Arizona’s go-to tight end in the passing game while serving as an additional security blanket for MVP candidate Kyler Murray. The three-time Pro Bowler should get every opportunity to slot in nicely into a high-flying offense that already employs the likes of DeAndre Hopkins, Chase Edmonds, A.J. Green, Christian Kirk, James Conner, and Rondale Moore.
For Philadelphia, this deal was undoubtedly made with an eye towards the future. Thursday night’s loss at the hands of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers dropped the Eagles to a grim 2-4 on the season. It’s not all doom and gloom in the City of Brotherly Love, however. The Eagles are currently slated to make three selections in the top 10 of the 2022 NFL Draft. Future draft capital is often of the utmost importance for a young and struggling franchise, and that’s part of what general manager Howie Roseman has acquired in the deal that sends Ertz to Arizona.
The inclusion of rookie cornerback Gowan is also incredibly intriguing. The Eagles were reportedly interested in drafting the 6-foot-1 cover-man from UCF. The Cardinals selected Gowan with the 223rd selection in the sixth round. The Eagles were slated to pick just one spot late and choose another defender in the secondary, safety JaCoby Stevens, with their selection. Philadelphia has now found a way to acquire a first-year prospect they were allegedly high on.
This deal also represents the end of an era for Philadelphia fans. It’s tough to put in words what Ertz has meant to this franchise. He now departs the only organization he’s ever played for while ranking second on their all-time reception list with 579, just 10 receptions short (589) of Hall of Fame receiver Harold Carmichael. It’s a shame he won’t get a chance to shatter that long-standing record.
While Ertz faces an emotional goodbye, the grass is greener on the other side. Look for Ertz to immediately make an impact on a legitimate Super Bowl contender.