Zach Ertz has been Carson Wentz's favorite target since the quarterback arrived in Philadelphia, but that prolific pairing might be entering its final season together.
Ertz wasn't shy Thursday when speaking on his uncertain future.
"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."
Ertz has gotten to know his potential replacement over the last two years because he's shared a tight ends room with him. Dallas Goedert, a second-round pick of Philadelphia whose build even looks similar to Ertz's in pads, stands as the potential tight end of the future.
For a team with over $250 million in projected cap liabilities for 2021 and a cap that is not going to land near that (especially after the financial effects of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic), the Eagles are going to need to shed salary. They can save a net total of $4.7 million in space by cutting Ertz after this season, making it seemingly inevitable with financial gymnastics ahead. With Goedert accounting for a mere $1.78 million in 2021 space, the writing appears to be on the wall.
Ertz's age 30 season begins this weekend, adding another discouraging factor to striking a deal to keep him in Philadelphia. The younger Goedert, who is only 25, again makes more sense for the Eagles' future.
If Ertz and Philadelphia can come to an agreement that would keep him around while also allowing the Eagles to complete a back handspring or two en route to cap viability in 2021, perhaps we'll see the current discouraging tone disappear in due time. For now, though, it's tough to overlook the financial ramifications -- even with the gleam of the Lombardi Trophy secured by Ertz's Eagles still hitting Philadelphia fans in their misty eyes.