Teams can never have enough weapons and the Kansas City Chiefs are no exception.
The reigning champs have been heavily scrutinized this season as their offense has performed well below their expectations. Their wide receiver corps has been plagued by drops and general inconsistency. And top target, tight end Travis Kelce, has been less explosive than in years past.
“Zach Ertz wants to land with contender,” ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter posted on X on December 1. “Candidates could include Kansas City, Baltimore and Buffalo.”
Chiefs Listed Among Potential Landing Spots for Ex-Cardinals TE Zach Ertz
Zach Ertz Could Produce for Chiefs
Ertz, 33, is a three-time Pro Bowl tight end and won a Super Bowl with Kelce’s brother as a member of the Philadelphia Eagles in 2017. He battled injuries in two of the last three seasons but has logged 10 appearances this season.
The 6-foot-5 Ertz has 27 receptions for 187 yards and one touchdown on 43 targets this season.
— Arizona Cardinals (@AZCardinals) October 8, 2023
“Ertz cleared waivers today and is now free to sign with any team, per source,” Schefter initially posted about the move. “The Eagles, a franchise for which Ertz needs 11 catches to pass Harold Carmichael and become their all-time leading receiver, are expected to have interest in re-signing him.”
He had 47 receptions for 406 yards and four scores on 69 targets in just 10 games for the Cardinals last season, and he played in all 17 regular season games the year before. At his peak, Ertz was one of the premier pass-catching tight ends in the game with Kelce.
While he is not that player anymore, he could still provide some reliable depth behind Kelce with current backup Noah Gray (24-244-1).
The Chiefs have $6.8 million in cap space, per Spotrac. But they would need to cut someone for Ertz.
Travis Kelce ‘P*****’ About Current Play
“I’m not playing my best football right now man and it’s pissing me off every f****** time I go out there,” Kelce said on the “New Heights” podcast on November 22. “But as a unit, we’re still together, and that’s all that f****** matters. Nobody’s pointing fingers. Guys are getting fired up because guys … want to be successful.”
Kelce, 34, is posting career-highs with a 79.5% catch rate and 7.0 receptions per game this season. But his yards per target are at a career-low and he is on pace for his fewest receiving touchdowns since 2019.
It’s not just him, though, as the Chiefs’ offense has been a struggle for much of the season. But there have been some bright spots.
Rashee Rice Giving Chiefs Hope for WR Room
The group rightfully gets criticized for drops. But rookie wideout Rashee Rice is stepping his game up at a time when the team needs it most.
Rice’s improved play and usage drew praise from ESPN’s Marcus Spears.
The Chiefs need Rice to keep up his performance and then some if they are determined to recapture their championship form. But that might also require more from Kelce or – if Ertz is added – the tight end position.
Kansas City has the luxury of being atop the AFC West at 8-3. But all of the other conference division leaders have as good of a record or better. It might behoove the Chiefs to bring in another proven commodity. And they can continue giving their young pieces time to grow into their expected roles.
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Main Photo: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports