The Philadelphia Eagles are paying Zach Ertz like he’s an elite tight end, which he isn’t.
The Philadelphia Eagles locked up one of their young studs Monday morning, announcing they had agreed to a five-year, $42.5 million contract extension with Zach Ertz.
Ertz has cemented himself as one of the NFL’s best young tight ends. He has improved in every year of his professional career, which is encouraging. However, based on what he’s shown in his first three years in the league, the Eagles are undoubtedly overpaying him.
The only tight ends with a bigger contract than Ertz are Rob Gronkowski ($54 million) and Julius Thomas ($46 million). Ertz will be making $2.5 million more than Jimmy Graham, a three-time Pro Bowler and two-time All-Pro.
Ertz is a good player. In only three years, he’s compiled 169 receptions for 2,024 yards and nine touchdowns, but that is nothing compared to what Gronkowski, Graham or Thomas have done. In Gronkowski’s first three seasons as a pro, he racked up 2,663 yards and 38 touchdowns. In as many seasons, Graham recorded 2,648 yards and 25 touchdowns. Thomas only spent two years as the Denver Broncos’ starting tight end, but still managed to catch 24 touchdown passes during that span, which almost triples the amount of touchdowns Ertz has caught during his three-year career. Given, fellow tight end Brent Celek has taken a large bite out of Ertz’s production, but, nonetheless, he still has a lot to prove.
The Eagles are paying Ertz like a game-changing tight end, which, frankly, he isn’t. Ertz has shown that he can take over football games, but lacks the consistency of an elite tight end. If Ertz can find a way to steadily produce, then he will thrust himself into the conversation as one of the best tight ends in the league. But, as of now, he isn’t quite there yet.
Ertz posted the following statement on his website Monday.
"Nothing could make me happier than knowing I’m going to be a member of the Philadelphia Eagles for years to come.I love Philly. My family loves it. I love how passionate Eagles fans are about their football, how they live and breathe it. I put a lot of pressure on myself to be the best, and our fans want us to be successful as much as we want to be successful.What I love more than anything is that fans here in Philadelphia are truly honest with you. If you’re not playing great, you’re going to hear about it. If you’re losing, you’re going to hear about it. If they’re not happy, they’re going to let you know.I have no issue with that. I know when I’m messing up, and when I do, I feel the same way they do. In life, you have to be accountable. You reap what you sow. When we’re playing great and winning, our fans are the best fans in the world, and there’s no one else in the league I’d rather play for.That’s the way it should be.This past season taught me a lot, and tested me in ways I had never imagined. Over the coming offseason, I’ll be getting back to the grind, and working toward next year. I’ve got a lot of motivation. We all do.I couldn’t be more proud to be putting that work in for the Eagles, and for the city of Philadelphia. My sincerest thank you to Mr. Lurie and the rest of the organization for making this commitment to me. I am committed to doing everything I can to be the best player I can be, and to help our team get back to the Super Bowl and win it.Let’s get to work."
Ertz sounds hungry, which is obviously a good thing. But he said it himself; Eagles fans are ruthless and are going to let him know if his play isn’t up to snuff. If he doesn’t work on his consistency, fans will be wondering why he’s getting paid as much as he is.