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The Eagles Are About To Rob Jalen Hurts of an Essential Weapon

If the Philadelphia Eagles intend to compete in 2021 with Jalen Hurts as their starting quarterback, then they’re certainly sending him the wrong message.

The Eagles have already made numerous changes this offseason, including trading quarterback Carson Wentz and cutting veteran wideout DeSean Jackson. Now, star tight end Zach Ertz could be the next to go — and that is bad news for Hurts, the second-year quarterback from Oklahoma.

The Eagles might part ways with Zach Ertz

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After eight seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles, Zach Ertz could be wearing a different uniform next season.

NFL Media’s Mike Silver recently reported that “multiple teams” have called the Eagles about acquiring Ertz, who turned 30 in November. Silver tweeted that the Eagles could trade Ertz before free agency begins on March 17.

Injuries limited Ertz to 36 catches for 335 yards and one touchdown in 11 games last year. All represented his lowest numbers since he entered the NFL as a second-round pick in 2013.

Ertz, a three-time Pro Bowl selection, caught 10 passes for 126 yards in the four games that Jalen Hurts started to end the 2020 season.

Jalen Hurts needs the Eagles to keep Ertz

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The Philadelphia Eagles appear ready to give Jalen Hurts a legitimate chance at being the team’s starting quarterback next season.

Although Hurts is a dynamic quarterback who can also beat teams with his legs, he cannot do everything alone. If the Eagles intend to build around Hurts, they’d be hurting him by trading Zach Ertz elsewhere.

Ertz’s possible departure wouldn’t leave the Eagles entirely without weapons. Dallas Goedert took a larger role at tight end in 2020, hauling in 46 catches for 524 yards and three touchdowns.

Still, Ertz is a veteran tight end with a proven track record. He is an ideal and safe target for a young quarterback like Hurts, especially after all of the Eagles’ offensive changes in recent weeks.

New offensive coordinator Shane Steichen held the same role with Justin Herbert and the Chargers last year. Tight end Hunter Henry had an important receiving role in Steichen’s offense, catching 60 passes for 513 yards and four touchdowns in 14 games.

Could the Eagles replace Zach Ertz with Kyle Pitts?

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If the Eagles do trade Zach Ertz, they can make it up to Jalen Hurts in a few weeks.

Philadelphia holds the sixth pick in this year’s NFL draft. That could put the Eagles in a perfect position to select Florida’s Kyle Pitts, an All-American tight end who can also line up at receiver. 

Charlie Campbell, an NFL draft analyst for walterfootball.com, called Pitt a “mismatch nightmare” in his scouting report. 

“Pitts is an amazing weapon on 50-50 passes, and he is never really covered because of his ability to make acrobatic grabs over defenders. Pitts uses his tall and long frame to make catches over defensive backs, and he is a tremendous weapon in the red zone thanks to his size mismatch ability. With his leaping ability and superb body control, Pitts has a huge catch radius, so even when defenders do everything right, Pitts can make big plays above them. As a red-zone player, Pitts could be among the best in the NFL.”

If the Eagles’ endgame is essentially to trade Zach Ertz for Kyle Pitts, then it’s hard to argue with that move given Pitts’ talent. But if the Eagles are parting ways with Ertz and investing entirely in Dallas Goedert, Hurts should be very concerned. 

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