The Colts should explore a trade for Eagles TE Zach Ertz in light of his stalled contract negotiations.
The Indianapolis Colts had better hope their dynamic wide receiving corps steps up this season, because their outlook at tight end is anything but encouraging.
Following the departure of Eric Ebron, the Colts agreed to a one-year deal with Trey Burton to complement veteran Jack Doyle, who’s production has really tailed off after a breakthrough 2017 campaign.
Unfortunately for Indianapolis, that signing hasn’t panned out as Burton missed the close of training camp with a calf injury, which ultimately saw him placed on injured reserve, meaning he’ll miss at least the first three weeks of the season.
In a vacuum, the Colts don’t have a long-term play at tight end and they could stand to benefit tremendously by trading for one or making a splash in free agency. Well, it just so happens that one of the best players at the position, Zach Ertz, is currently frustrated with the little progress that has been made in his contract negotiations with the Philadelphia Eagles.
Leading up to the Eagles’ first game of 2020, Ertz voiced his discontent with his contract situation. He even went as far as to say that he’s approaching this season as if it’s his last with the team. The three-time Pro Bowler did make it clear that he wants to finish his career in Philadelphia, but his anger is totally justifiable following the groundbreaking deals both Travis Kelce and George Kittle inked with their respective organizations this offseason.
In terms of annual average value, Ertz’s $8.5 million salary ranks seventh (!) among tight ends this year. The former second-round pick is earning $5.8 million less than Kelce and a whopping $6.5 million less than Kittle. When you consider his production — he’s averaged 92 receptions for 967 yards and eight touchdowns per season over the last three years — he fully deserves to be one of the league’s highest-paid tight ends.
Not only do the Colts (in theory) boast the assets to get a deal done, but they are also flush with the necessary finances to sign Ertz to a lucrative extension. According to Spotrac, they have $12.77 million in salary cap space at their disposal. That number will increase significantly in the offseason when the team is slated to have over $70 million ready to spend.
It obviously wouldn’t be easy prying Ertz from the Eagles, but Colts general manager Chris Ballard is too good at his job to not at least inquire about what he would have to give up in a trade for the 29-year-old stud.
Who knows … maybe swapping Jack Doyle and a mid-round pick could get this done.