NFL News & Analysis

Eagles trade TE Zach Ertz to Arizona Cardinals for CB Tay Gowan, 2022 fifth-round pick

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia Eagles tight end Zach Ertz (86) takes the field against the New England Patriots at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The 5-0 Arizona Cardinals added another weapon into their already high-powered offense, acquiring tight end Zach Ertz in a trade with the Philadelphia Eagles.

The Cardinals sent cornerback Tay Gowan and a 2022 fifth-round pick to the Eagles for Ertz. The Cardinals needed help at tight end after starter Maxx Williams was placed on injured reserve with a season-ending knee injury this week.

Ertz played Thursday night in Week 6 and caught four passes for 29 yards with a touchdown in the Eagles’ 28-22 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Ertz started the game with fellow tight end Dallas Goedert on the COVID-19/reserve list after testing positive. Philadelphia also had received trade interest in Goedert, FOX Sports’ Jay Glazer reported Thursday.

Ertz is not eligible to play for Arizona on Sunday against the Cleveland Browns.

He has $5.66 million in 2021 salary remaining, which is a good bit more than the roughly $2.7 million in cap space Arizona is currently believed to have. The Cardinals either made a corresponding move to clear cap space or the Eagles converted some of Ertz's salary into a signing bonus to facilitate the move. Based on the trade return, a salary conversion seems probable.

The Cardinals’ pass-catching arsenal already featured wide receivers DeAndre Hopkins, A.J. Green, Christian Kirk and rookie Rondale Moore, as well as running backs Chase Edmonds and James Conner. Ertz projects to start as he joins Darrell Daniels and Demetrius Harris on Arizona’s tight end depth chart.

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Ertz has not had the same receiving impact in recent years: He averaged 1.8 receiving yards per route run across the first seven seasons of his career (sixth among tight ends. However, that number has dropped to just 1.0 since 2020 (41st at tight end). Click here to find PFF's NFL player grades.

Tight end has been a non-factor in Arizona's offense prior to this trade: Through five weeks, Arizona has played fewer snaps with a tight end on the field than any other offense in the league (253), and only the Cincinnati Bengals have targeted their tight ends less (16) than the Cardinals (18). Ertz will look to change that, stepping in for an injured Maxx Williams. Click here to find PFF's NFL premium stats.

Eagles add a PFF draft favorite at cornerback: Tay Gowan was PFF's eighth-ranked cornerback and a top-70 player overall on PFF's Final Big Board for the 2021 NFL Draft after allowing just 40% of the passes into his coverage to be completed in his final season at UCF. Gowan wasn't active for Arizona through the team's first five games. Click here to explore PFF's 2022 NFL Draft Guide


Double TE1 upside: Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert together in Philadelphia meant neither could be fantasy TE1s. The 50-50 split of snaps, routes and targets made both liabilities in lineups.

Ertz's trade to Arizona is the best-case scenario for both to be top-12 options for the rest of the season. Click here to explore PFF's TE matchup chart.

Goedert elite TE fantasy option: Ertz ran a route on a season-high 74% of team dropbacks and played an 88% snap share in the team's loss to Tampa Bay on Thursday. Goedert, who was inactive in Week 6, was running a route on only 59% of dropbacks in the timeshare this season. He should push past 80% (elite) now and carries a historical targets-per-route run of 20% (near-elite). He moves to TE7 for the rest of the season and will challenge T.J. Hockenson for TE6 status. Click here to find PFF's 2021 fantasy rankings.

Ertz low-end TE1 rest of season: Arizona needed to replace Maxx Williams, who averaged a 10% target share through five weeks. Ertz has upside playing a full-time role in a high-powered offense. Click here to find PFF's fantasy stats.


Cardinals pressing on 2021: Arizona's trade signals an all-in mentality this season, with our simulation giving them a 92% chance of making the playoffs. There is value on Cardinals division winner tickets, priced the same as the Los Angeles Rams at +110 odds on DraftKings. Ertz fills a need after Maxx Williams' season-ending knee injury and gets a boost to his own player prop outlook. PFF's Betting Futures Tool reveals betting opportunities within season win total and future markets.

Eagles reset outlook: Philadelphia finally moves on from Ertz and gets a reasonable return in the process. The team's season-long win total is off the board after a covered loss last night. Week 7 brings a difficult matchup to project, with our spread points calculation seeing the Eagles as a 2.5-point road underdog in Vegas. PFF's new Power Rankings Tool offers projections based on 10,000 season simulations given Team Point Spread Ratings, Strength of Schedule and team records.

You've got the first pick with your finances. Western Southern Financial Group.

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