By Jeff Moeller, The New York Extra
The Jets still haven’t solved their tight end problem.
They did make a nice addition with former Buffalo Bill Tyler Croft in free agency ,and he will join incumbents Chris Herndon, Ryan Griffin, and Trevan Wesco.
Herndon was targeted as the solution after a breakthrough season in 2018, but his production slowed and he battled injuries throughout most of 2019 and 2020.
He made a late-season surge last season, and appeared to be read back on the Jets’ radar.
Griffin was signed as a free agent in July 2019, and he made his splash that season. Last year, he battled through an injury-plagued year, and Wesco has made his mark with his blocking.
With these four initially coming back, the Jets seem to have the problem solved, right?
Get the Eagles’ Zach Ertz.
He instantly upgrades and brings credibility to the position, and provides a solid veteran presence.
The 30-year-old disgruntled Ertz has expressed his desire to get out of Philadelphia for quite some time , and now the Eagles feel the same way.
Ertz hped to be released before the start of free agency, but the Eagles held him for a trade.
The presumed asking price is a second- or third-round pick on the high end for Ertz, which Jets’ GM Joe Douglas could provide. The Bills, Colts, and Chargers have been on the forefront. Buffalo has gained momentum via a rumored deal of their first-round pick (30th overall) to Philly for Ertz.
Ertz is scheduled to make approximately $8 million this season in the final year of his current deal.
Douglas would need to move some players and money around tpo afford him, but he is well worth the price.
Ertz is a year away from an 88-reception, Pro Bowl season in 2019 and a 116-cact campaign in 2018. Over eight years, Ertz has 561 career receptions and 36 touchdowns.
He also has a relationship with the Jets’ GM’s days in the Philadelphia front office.
He is a locker room leader, and could form an effective and deep receiving corps for rookie quarterback Zach Wilson with Jamison Crowder, Keelan Cole, Corey Davis, and Denzel Mims.
Ertz would be an instant solution to an issue that has plagued the Jets since Dustin Keller had a productive five-year run from 2008-12.
Ertz also should be a major part of the new offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur’s scheme, as LeFleur made widespread and advantageous use of tight end as the 49er’s passing coordinator mainly with George Kittle.
The Eagles may not deal Ertz until after June 1 because they would benefit from dead cap space of approximately $8.5 million spread out over the 2021 and 2022 seasons. It would bring them roughly $3.5 million to play with.
He is worth the wait.
But other teams in the mix might get the Eagles to pull the trigger before or on draft day April 29.
Douglas has gained a reputation as a mover with the trades of Jamal Adams and Sam Darnold and his rash of free agent signings last month.
It’s time to make another move and get Ertz.