Zach Ertz wants to be in Philly long term, but 'I don't know for sure if that feeling is mutual'

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Philadelphia Eagles tight end Zach Ertz is frustrated over not being able to work out a long-term deal with the team. Ertz spoke about his contract Thursday, saying he wants to be with the Eagles going forward, but doesn’t know “if that feeling is mutual.”

Ertz, 29, is under contract with the team through the 2021 season. However, it’s possible Ertz could be a cap casualty following the 2020 season. The Eagles are expected to be at or over the salary cap in the offseason and can save some cap space by cutting Ertz.

Ertz is aware of that, and said he’ll play 2020 as though it’s his last in Philadelphia, according to NFL.com.

"It's been frustrating at times. It's been difficult," Ertz said of a potential contract extension for him in Philadelphia. "I've said all along I want to be here for the long run. 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 and this city, because that's what this city deserves, nothing less.

"So I'm going into this year that I'm going to leave it all out there. Whatever happens, happens. I'll let the details be with my agent and (Eagles general manager) Howie (Roseman). And I'm going to do everything I can to give this city what it deserves and that's everything I possibly have, even if that means playing with that lacerated kidney. Whatever it takes to win football games and do whatever I can to kind of leave a mark on this team and this city."

Over his career, Ertz has emerged as Carson Wentz’s most reliable target. Last season, Ertz caught 88 passes for 916 yards and 6 touchdowns. He’s made the Pro Bowl in each of the last three seasons.

Eagles already have a Zach Ertz replacement

While Ertz’s production would normally be enough to justify a contract extension, the Eagles have an intriguing option behind Ertz. Dallas Goedert has shown flashes of excellence over his career, and could make for a tantalizing option if the Eagles decide to part ways with Ertz. Goedert began seeing a fair amount of usage in the second half last season, playing nearly as many snaps as Ertz after Week 8. Ertz was still the primary tight end, but the Eagles clearly think highly of Goedert.

None of this prevents the Eagles from getting Ertz signed long term. Ertz and Goedert have co-existed for two seasons, and make up quite a terrifying tandem for opposing defenses. Having two really good tight ends is not a bad thing.

Ertz is going to get paid either way. If the Eagles can’t find a way to fit Ertz in under the salary cap, some other team will step in to offer him a mega deal.

That might not be what Ertz wants right now, but it could be the best thing for both sides in the long run.

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