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Eagles Trade Zach Ertz to Cardinals for Tay Gowan, 2022 Fifth-Round Pick

Sports Illustrated
Sports Illustrated
 2021-10-15

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The three-time Pro Bowl tight end is on his way to Arizona.

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The Eagles have traded longtime tight end Zach Ertz to the Cardinals for Tay Gowan and a 2022 fifth-round pick, the teams announced.

ESPN's Adam Schefter was the first to report the move.

The 6' 5" tight end was noticeably emotional following the Eagles' 28–22 loss to the Buccaneers on Thursday night. The 30-year-old seemed close to tears as he walked to the locker room alongside teammate Javon Hargrave and shared a moment with Philadelphia VP of security Dom DiSandro.

"I sat at my locker last night and cried for a half hour,” Ertz said on Friday about being traded. "...Philly will always be home. I love Philly.”

Eagles general manager Howie Roseman told reporters Friday that he informed Ertz of the advancing trade talks on Tuesday night. Roseman later said , "Zach's an Eagle for life. Zach's family. That will never change."

Ertz tallied four receptions for 29 yards and a touchdown Thursday night at Lincoln Financial Field. He commented Friday about how playing his "last game at home was special," and he knew he was being traded.

For him, "Philadelphia is home."

"These people love their team. They love the Eagles; they love their players. This city loves their players. They want to see us succeed as much if not more than we want to succeed," Ertz said. "For me, that's just what I loved about this place. People were honest. People, they're blunt. They don't care about you [apologizing] about a game on social media if you play poorly. They want to see you put in the work Monday through Saturday to get better for Sunday.

"For me, I think that's why I resonated in this city. It's because all I knew is how to work hard. That’s why I love this place.”

Ertz is owed approximately $5.5 million this season. He will not be available to play Sunday for Arizona, as players can compete only once a week. Throughout his Eagles career, he tallied 579 receptions, 6,267 yards and 38 touchdowns.

The Cardinals recently lost Maxx Williams to a season-ending knee injury and needed to find someone to fill the spot.

Ertz gave a teary-eyed interview in January when talking about the city of Philadelphia at the end of the 2020 season.

"The foundation that we have here in Philadelphia has been a pleasure," Ertz said. "I think we're just getting started with that [in] Philly. I think this city is the best city to play for and I couldn't have asked for a better experience.

"This city means a lot to me. It means a lot to my family and I'm thankful."

The tight end previously said he wanted to stay with the Eagles but didn't believe the feeling was mutual in September 2020.

"I said all along I want to be here for the long run," he said. "I don't know for sure if that feeling is mutual, but I know I'm going to play this year like it is my last year and I'm going to leave everything I possibly have in the tank for this team."

Ertz was hoping to get a contract extension before the 2020 season, but talks died down when he reportedly received a low offer. He signed a five-year, $42.5 million contract extension in January '16 and reconstructed it multiple times to give the Eagles flexibility with the salary cap.

Ertz, 30, was a staple in Philadelphia since he was drafted by the team in 2013. He was a central part of the team's '17 Super Bowl run, catching seven passes, including a touchdown, in Philadelphia's 41–33 win over the Patriots in Super Bowl LII.

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He made three Pro Bowls in a row from 2017 to '19 and was named first-team All-Pro in '18 when he caught 116 passes for 1,163 yards and eight touchdowns.

Meanwhile, Gowan has not been active for a game this year after being selected in the fifth round of the 2021 NFL draft.

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