Eagles trade Zach Ertz to Cardinals after emotional final night for TE in Philadelphia

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The Philadelphia Eagles traded Pro Bowl tight end Zach Ertz to the Arizona Cardinals, Ian Rapoport and Mike Garafolo reported Friday for NFL Network. The Cardinals confirmed the move minutes later

The Eagles will receive rookie cornerback Tay Gowan and a 2022 fifth-round draft pick. 

Ertz played in the Eagles' 28-22 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Thursday night and was emotional as he exited the field. Eagles executive vice president and general manager Howie Roseman told reporters Friday that Ertz was aware it would be his last game with the Eagles. 

The Eagles picked Ertz in the second round of the 2013 draft and he became a beloved, foundational figure for the franchise en route to a Super Bowl in 2018.  

"Zach's an Eagle for life," Roseman told reporters. "Zach's family. That will never change."

Philadelphia Eagles' Zach Ertz
Zach Ertz walks off Lincoln Financial Field for the last time in a Philadelphia Eagles jersey. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Ertz trade speculation come to an end

Ertz, 30, has been part of trade reports since last year and the club attempted to deal him in the offseason. The veteran reportedly thought he'd been traded twice ahead of the season, including ahead of the NFL draft, only to return to Philadelphia for training camp. 

The three-time Pro Bowl selection was sharing time with Dallas Goedert, the Eagles' 2018 second-round draft pick who is on the last year of his rookie contract. There were reports one of the tight ends could be traded this week. 

Roseman said moving Ertz will allow each full-time reps at the position, and enable the Eagles to see what they have in Goedert ahead of discussing a new contract. 

Ertz is due around $5.5 million over the rest of the season and is set to be a free agent in March. Relations between the sides became strained when they couldn't agree on a contract extension. 

Ertz's emotional final night in Philadelphia

Ertz is a staple in the Eagles franchise and a beloved figure for fans over the past nine years. He caught the winning touchdown for the Eagles' first Super Bowl victory in 2018 in the middle of his three consecutive Pro Bowl seasons. 

Roseman said he had spoken with the star on Tuesday about his future with the team and the club made him a captain for Thursday night. He said they were willing to take on the risk of injury. After the team's loss on Thursday night, Ertz appeared to be emotional as he exited Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia. He told reporters he spent 30 minutes crying at his locker after the game and called the city home. 

"Being able to play my last game at home was special," Ertz said. 

He had four catches for 29 yards and a touchdown on the Eagles' first offensive possession.

"It was awesome," Ertz said of a final touchdown with the Eagles. "I think I spiked the ball so hard it disappeared." 

In six games with the Eagles this season, he has 18 catches for 189 yards and two scores. 

The Eagles (2-4) are on the road the next two weeks. Their next home is after the Nov. 2 trade deadline. The team is in transition with quarterback Jalen Hurts and first-year coach Nick Sirianni. 

Cardinals fill TE void

The undefeated Cardinals (5-0) had a need at tight end after placing Maxx Williams on injured reserve Wednesday. Williams suffered a knee injury Sunday against San Francisco and head coach Kliff Kingsbury said he was done for the season. 

The Cardinals don't rely heavily on their tight ends. They're ranked seventh in the passing game with quarterback Kyler Murray and a receiving group led by DeAndre Hopkins. The team is ranked eighth on the ground. 

The new Cardinals TE star is not eligible to play Sunday when the team plays at the Cleveland Browns. 

Ertz reportedly told those close to him he'd be interested in joining the Cardinals and his wife, two-time World Cup champion Julie Ertz, grew up in nearby Mesa. 

Julie Ertz plays for the Chicago Red Stars of the NWSL with Kealia Watt, the wife of Cardinals defensive end J.J. Watt.