The Philadelphia Eagles have extended the contract of three-year tight end Zach Ertz through the 2021 season, the team announced Monday. As the Doug Pederson Era begins to take shape, the Eagles have wasted no time in locking up the young talent they currently have on the roster. Per Ian Rapoport, Ertz’s contract extension is worth $42.5 million with $20 million in guarantees over the course of five-years.
This extension makes Ertz the fourth-highest paid tight end in the NFL per-yearly basis at $8.5 million right behind Jimmy Graham ($10M), Julius Thomas (9.2M), and Rob Gronkowski ($9M). PFF rated Ertz the fourth best tight end in the 2015 season at a yearly rating of 84.9 (out of a 100 scale), finishing behind Gronkowski, Delanie Walker, and Tyler Eifert.
Based on Ertz’s performance in 2015 and the progression he showed, the move by the Eagles to lock up their young tight end makes sense. In the final four games of the season, Ertz caught 35 passes for 450 yards and a touchdown. Those 450 yards are the highest-yardage total in NFL history over the course of a regular season’s final four games. Ertz also became the second tight end since 2013 to record 450 receiving yards in a four-game period.
Ertz has progressed in production ever since his rookie year. In 2013, he had 36 receptions for 469 yards and four touchdowns. His sophomore year he had 58 receptions for 702 yards and three touchdowns. This past season he racked up 75 receptions for 853 yards and two touchdowns. Per Reuben Frank, over the last two seasons, Ertz ranks fifth among tight ends with 1,555 yards. The production has been there, and it was a smart investment by Philadelphia to lock up a top-five tight end.
The move not only makes sense from a production standpoint, but it also makes sense from a philosophical standpoint. Newly hired head coach Doug Pederson and offensive coordinator Frank Reich target the tight end in their offense. Last year alone, Travis Kelce in Kansas City and Antonio Gates in San Diego, both the perspective teams Pederson and Reich coached last year, were targeted a combined 184 times. Pederson and Reich will look to continue that trend of heavy tight end production with the Eagles next season now that they have Ertz secured.
In his personal blog, Ertz released the following message:
“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 will discuss his contract extension at 1 PM Monday in a press conference at the team’s facility in Philadelphia.
Image Source: Yong Kim/Philly.com