Sooner or later, the Cincinnati Bengals are going to need to add to their offense.
They’ve approached free agency this year very much like how they began last year; agreeing to terms with a defensive lineman, and two cornerbacks.
Surely an offensive lineman is on the way, but what about a pass catcher via a trade?
Per NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport, the Philadelphia Eagles are allowing tight end Zach Ertz to seek a trade.
The #Eagles have given long-time TE Zach Ertz, one of the faces of their franchise, permission to seek a trade, source said. Several teams have been engaged.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 16, 2021
Ertz, a second-round draft pick by Philadelphia in 2013, has accumulated over 6,000 receiving yards and 36 touchdowns in his eight years with the Eagles. From 2017-2019, Ertz made the Pro Bowl in all three years.
2020 was when things started to go south for the Orange, California native. Ertz’s production saw a major drop off as quarterback Carson Wentz accelerated his descent into one of the NFL’s worst passers. This was also two years after the Eagles drafted tight end Dallas Goedert with a second-round pick as well.
Last week, a report surfaced that Ertz would like to be released, as rumors of his potential split with the club reached a months-long climax. The Eagles remained bullish on being able to recoup some value for his departure and ignored trade offers for Ertz. Now it appears they’re willing to take the next step and allow Ertz to view his options amongst potential trade partners.
The Bengals currently have four tight ends on their roster. C.J. Uzomah is on his way back from a torn Achilles he suffered at the beginning of last season. His backup, Drew Sample, is entering his third season and could be in line for even more opportunities after a solid second year. Mason Schreck and Mitchell Wilcox round out the group as bottom-of-the-roster type players.
In theory, there’s room to make adding Ertz work. It would likely require releasing or trading Uzomah as a result, but Ertz would be an upgrade as a receiver. The estimated cost for Ertz is an unknown at this point, but the price shouldn’t be too high.
Realistically, though, the club adores Uzomah as a player and as an off-field presence and will keep him around so he can make a full recovery. Sample was the second-ever draft pick by Zac Taylor and his coaching staff, so it’d be unlikely for them to limit his opportunities as well at this juncture.
Ertz is still capable of being a valuable weapon, but he’s likely not on Cincinnati’s radar at the moment.