Arizona Cardinals receive A- from ESPN on pre-deadline Zach Ertz trade

Nov 2, 2021, 11:15 AM

The Arizona Cardinals didn’t wait until Tuesday’s trade deadline to add a major contributor to the roster.

Soon after tight end Maxx Williams was lost for the season with a knee injury, Arizona traded for Philadelphia Eagles tight end Zach Ertz in exchange for rookie cornerback Tay Gowan, who had yet to see any playing time, and a fifth-round pick.

The deal was a win for the Cardinals, according to ESPN’s Kevin Seifert, who handed out an A- grade for the trade.

He isn’t cheap — the Cardinals will pay him a prorated portion of his $8.5 million base salary — and is eligible for free agency after the season. But the Cardinals are legitimate Super Bowl contenders and are all in for 2021 after signing defensive lineman J.J. Watt and receiver A.J. Green during the offseason. Ertz fits the same profile and is another in a growing list of players on the Cardinals’ roster who could help put them over the top. Giving up a rookie defensive back and a fifth-round pick seems like modest compensation at best.

The move instantly paid off with Ertz scoring the longest touchdown of his nine-year career in his first game in Cardinals red, reeling in a 47-yard score in Arizona’s 31-5 win over the Houston Texans in Week 7.

Through two games, Ertz has caught seven of his nine receptions for 108 yards and the touchdown.

On the other side of the coin, Seifert handed out a B- grade for the Eagles, who were able to at least get something from Ertz’s eventual departure from the organization.

The deal is more complicated from the Eagles’ perspective. They drafted Dallas Goedert as Ertz’s tight end heir apparent in 2018, but Ertz then went on to have the best two seasons of his career. There was no hurry to move on from him. But assuming they plan to sign Goedert to a contract extension, now was probably the Eagles’ last chance to get any return beyond a compensatory draft pick. Stranger things have happened, but the Eagles should feel confident that they got the best years of Ertz’s career before parting ways.

While the returns from the draft pick won’t be known until at least next season, Gowan saw his first action as a pro in the team’s 44-6 win over the Detroit Lions. He played 26% of the team’s defensive snaps and recorded one tackle.

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