Heading into a huge off-season, the Cincinnati Bengals can trade for a star player like Zach Ertz to boost the team’s receiving core. While it comes at a somewhat hefty price, it could accelerate the team’s contention timeline. In their mission to get more help for Joe Burrow, Ertz represents an ideal pass-catching fit. The team does have some tight ends they like, but Ertz is a different animal. Cincinnati could make their biggest trade splash in years if they move for Ertz.
The Cincinnati Bengals Targeting a Trade for Zach Ertz Fits Their Roster Build-out
Though the team has plentiful holes to fill, the Cincinnati Bengals trading for a star could bring energy and excitement around the team’s budding core. With the departure of his friend and public frustration with the organization, an accomplished tight end could be the target. Zach Ertz, a longtime member of the Philadelphia Eagles, is rumored to want out from the City of Brotherly Love. “I was told unequivocally today that tight end Zach Ertz will not play for the Philadelphia Eagles next year. There appears to be some hard feelings how Ertz, a big contributor to the team during their Super Bowl run, was treated last season,” said Troy Pauline of The Draft Network. “Rather than cut Ertz, expect the Eagles to try and trade him.”
While Cincinnati won’t be the only trade suitor, they could definitely benefit from adding Ertz to their roster. Granted, some may see Ertz as an aging talent in a young core. Certainly, some members of the fan base clamor for Florida’s stand-out tight end Kyle Pitts. While Pitts presents more long-term potential, Ertz is established and would be a ready-made weapon for Cincinnati’s offense.
The Cincinnati Bengals trade for Ertz hinges on their satisfaction with their current tight-end core. C.J. Uzomah and Drew Sample both have quality seasons under their belt, though both have an asterisk. Uzomah is coming off a torn Achilles tendon in Week Two against the Cleveland Browns. Sample, a former second-round pick, looks like a much more useful blocker than a pass-catcher. The two combined for 436 receiving yards, 48 catches, and two touchdowns a season ago. Ertz also struggled in 2020, posting 335 receiving yards, 36 receptions, and one touchdown.
Zach Ertz Fits With Joe Burrow, Cincinnati Bengals Have Trade Chips
If there’s one thing the Cincinnati Bengals haven’t done much of, it’s making trades for veteran talent. Granted, there were on a shortlist of teams making strong offers for DeAndre Hopkins last off-season. Throwing trade chips towards Ertz would show the team’s commitment to their “New Dey” message. Now, determining a trade package for a Super Bowl-champion and All-Pro tight end is a tricky task. His reputation in the league is strong and he’s a fan-favorite in Philadelphia. However, the cost may be lower this off-season, as Ertz turned 30-years-old in November and wasn’t as effective in 2020.
Moving for Ertz probably won’t require a first-or-second-round pick in a trade from the Cincinnati Bengals. Instead, the team could probably build in some conditional picks in later rounds to build a convincing offer. With his $8.25 million in guaranteed cash next season following a dip in production, getting any picks should appeal to Philadelphia. The team appears on the precepts of a rebuild, so adding more draft capital could be key. The Bengals aren’t ones to trade draft capital easily, as they’ve hung on to all assets in upcoming years. This gives them the needed weapons to move for Ertz.
With Three Years Left on Deal, Zach Ertz Would Solidify Bengals Reciever Core
The Cincinnati Bengals, through all their shortcomings, have done a nice job drafting quality receivers. Tyler Boyd and Tee Higgins were both second-round picks who look like steals in retrospect. Auden Tate, a seventh-round pick rising through the ranks to be a key contributor. They still need to add more weapons, which will help Burrow thrive in (and out) of the pocket. Adding a target like Ertz to the fold makes the whole team more dynamic.
Ertz is only a year removed from a 2019 campaign where he piled-up 916 yards, 88 catches, and six touchdowns. Given the Eagles’ rocky quarterback situation a year ago, it’s reasonable to think a quality passer like Burrow would reignite Ertz. Additionally, Burrow thrived with the talented, pass-catching tight end in Thaddeus Moss in his college title run at LSU. Moss and Burrow connected for 570 yards, 47 receptions, and four touchdowns during the 2019 campaign with the Tigers. Adding a target like Ertz to Burrow’s arsenal bodes well for the Bengals and their young quarterback.
Cincinnati Bengals Trade Package
Considering the timeline of the two teams, this move logically accelerates one core while representing a changing of the guard for the other. Cincinnati sits at fifth in the 2021 NFL Draft, Philadelphia sits sixth. Also in this narrative, there are four very interesting quarterbacks at the top of the draft. Now, with Philadelphia moving Carson Wentz to the Indianapolis Colts and a new head coach, they could easily be interested in drafting their next quarterback atop this year’s class.
If Justin Fields, Trey Lance, or even Zach Wilson are sitting on the board when Bengals are on the clock, their phones will be ringing off the hook. With Philadelphia sitting just a pick behind Cincinnati, the Eagles have the ability to make a slimmer offer to move up. In this situation, the Bengals could demand Ertz in the package and ask for an additional third or fourth-round pick. This also helps the Bengals stay in contention for Ja’Marr Chase and Penei Sewell, two popular fits in the draft for Cincinnati. Granted, Philadelphia could run with Jalen Hurts and not play the market again. However, there’s reason to believe the team would desire the addition of a young quarterback to compete with Hurts.
The Cincinnati Bengals are in for an interesting off-season. Trading for Zach Ertz would make things not only interesting but exciting for a fanbase clamoring for a playoff win. Inherently, giving more pass-catching talent to Burrow is a great thing for the organization. However, a respected leader and veteran like Ertz adds to an increasingly positive culture in Cincinnati. It’s far from a no-brainer, but a Cincinnati Bengals trade for Zach Ertz makes a lot of sense.
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