Keim: Cardinals pursued Zach Ertz trade feeling they ‘had to make a move’

Oct 22, 2021, 4:02 PM

Zach Ertz of the Arizona Cardinals looks on prior to the game against the Cleveland Browns at First...

Zach Ertz of the Arizona Cardinals looks on prior to the game against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium on October 17, 2021 in Cleveland, Ohio. Ertz was recently traded to the Arizona Cardinals from the Philadelphia Eagles. (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images)

(Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images)

General manager Steve Keim felt that his Arizona Cardinals had no choice but to be aggressive after losing starting tight end Maxx Williams for the season.

Less than a week after Williams was carted off the field with a knee injury in a Week 5 game against the San Francisco 49ers, Arizona agreed to trade rookie corner Tay Gowan and a 2022 fifth-round pick to the Philadelphia Eagles in exchange for veteran tight end Zach Ertz.

“Really unfortunate for Maxx,” Keim said Friday while joining Arizona Sports’ Burns & Gambo. “I know we all … really love what he brings to the table in terms of his leadership and the kind of guy he is in the locker room. We felt like we had to make a move.

“To have the opportunity to acquire a guy like Zach Ertz and what he’s done in this league is to me a great opportunity for us.”

Ertz has 18 receptions for 189 yards and two touchdowns in six games with Philadelphia. He played last Thursday for the Eagles knowing he would be traded, but the deal didn’t go through until the next morning.

He did not play Sunday in Arizona’s win at the Cleveland Browns because he participated in that week’s game for Philadelphia.

Ertz, 30, is the second-leading receiver by catches in Eagles history and immediately slots in as a starter for a home game against the Houston Texans on Sunday.

“Talking to (Eagles GM) Howie Roseman and then talking it through with (Cardinals owner) Michael Bidwill, to have his support … being (5-0) and saying, ‘hey, let’s go get another piece. Let’s be aggressive, let’s add a guy that not only does a lot for us on the field, whether it’s schematically creating mismatches in the passing game, helping us in the run game, but a guy that really fits in our locker room,'” Keim said.

“[It] Follows what we’ve done with guys like J.J. (Watt), (Rodney) Hudson and A.J. Green.”

Keim spoke on the Ertz deal for the first time Friday after he missed his previous weekly interview with Burns & Gambo due to COVID-19. He, coach Kliff Kingsbury, quarterbacks coach Cam Turner, linebacker Chandler Jones, defensive tackle Corey Peters and defensive end Zach Allen all were put under COVID-19 protocols.

Keim said he hopes to be cleared to return to work in a day or two.

“I feel great. Feel really good,” he said. “Knocked me down for a few days. Basically from what I understand, being vaccinated certainly helps in that situation but really feel good right now and got through the tough parts of it. Just getting ready to try to hopefully clear protocols in the next few days and feeling pretty close.”

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