Jacksonville Jaguars: Expert believes Jags should pursue TE Zach Ertz

Philadelphia Eagles tight end Zach Ertz #86 (Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)
Philadelphia Eagles tight end Zach Ertz #86 (Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Jacksonville Jaguars could still use some help at tight end before the start of the 2021 NFL season. Should they call the Philadelphia Eagles to inquire about Zach Ertz’s availability?

In spite of the additions the Jacksonville Jaguars made to their tight end room this offseason, they could still some help. Ben Ellefson is having a productive training camp and could end up becoming a key cog on the Jags’ offense.

On the other hand, Chris Manhertz — the projected starter at tight end — doesn’t offer much in the passing game, having logged just 12 receptions over his six-year career. Also, veteran James O’Shaughnessy has been out with an ankle injury while Tim Tebow is still adjusting to playing the position. That’s why the Jaguars should consider giving the Philadelphia Eagles a call.

Field Yates of ESPN recently drew up a list of six different trades NFL teams should make, and one of them involves Jacksonville.  Yates thinks the Jaguars should pursue Eagles tight end Zach Ertz.

What kind of compensation would the Jacksonville Jaguars have to offer?

In this scenario, Philly would get a conditional fifth-round selection that can turn into a third- or a fourth based on production. Meanwhile, the Jags would get… Ertz and that’s it. Here’s Yates’ rationale behind the trade.

"There’s no mystery surrounding Ertz’s preference to be traded away from Philly, as he’s been the subject of speculation throughout the offseason. With Dallas Goedert available to step into a more primary tight end role and a youth movement in some spots of the roster, the Eagles will have a new look under coach Nick Sirianni.Ertz is due $8.5 million this year, which Philly would accumulate in cap and cash savings in any deal that is executed. The draft pick adds to the Eagles’ treasure trove of 2022 selections."

Yates goes on to say that the Jaguars should explore any potential upgrade to their tight end room. He also points out that context is necessary to evaluate Ertz’s subpar performance in 2020. What does he mean by that? Last season, Ertz posted career lows in yards, yard per catch, and touchdowns.

Nevertheless, Ertz wasn’t the only Eagle to struggle. The offensive line couldn’t block and quarterback Carson Wentz himself had a down year. Thus, you could argue that Philly deserves some of the blame for the tight end’s lack of impact in 2020.

Should the Jacksonville Jaguars pull the trigger?

Ertz is 30 but he should have plenty of gas in the tank. It’s true that he’s coming off arguably the worst season in his NFL career but, he was one of the best tight ends in the whole league as recently as two years ago. From 2017 to 2019, he hauled in 278 receptions for 2,903 yards and 22 touchdowns. The case could be made that only Travis Kelce and George Kittle were better in that span.

If the Jaguars traded for the three-time Pro Bowl nod, there’s a good chance he would become their number one tight end. It’s not a given that Ertz will be a difference-maker in Jacksonville. However, the deal would be predicated around conditional compensation, so the risk factor would be relatively lower for the Jaguars, as Yates rightly notes.

All things considered, this would be a solid trade that would benefit all parties involved. The Jags add reinforcements to their tight end room. Ertz gets a chance to show he can still be a playmaker and the Eagles get compensated for it.

The Jaguars will most likely roll with their current group of tight ends but if they want to make any upgrades, there may not be a better one than Zach Ertz.

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