Cardinals waiving TE Zach Ertz after request, per NFL insider J.J. Watt

Nov 30, 2023, 11:02 AM | Updated: 11:14 am

Zach Ertz...

Zach Ertz #86 of the Arizona Cardinals looks on before the game against the Seattle Seahawks at Lumen Field on October 22, 2023 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

(Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

Tight end Zach Ertz requested a release from the Arizona Cardinals, and the organization obliged, according to former Cardinals defensive end J.J. Watt.

The Cardinals announced the roster move on Thursday morning, ending the veteran’s tenure in Arizona. The Cardinals also announced they re-signed defensive lineman Ben Stille to the practice squad after he was released on Tuesday.

Watt, who poked fun at taking ESPN reporter Adam Schefter’s gig, said Ertz plans to sign with a contending team. Schefter added that Ertz and the Cardinals are mutually parting ways, so the tight end will go on waivers.

Ertz, 33, has been on injured reserve with a quad strain since Oct. 24. He has played in seven games this season, none with quarterback Kyler Murray.

The Cardinals added Ertz in a midseason trade from the Philadelphia Eagles during their 7-0 run in 2021. He caught 56 passes for 574 yards in 11 games, tying Jackie Smith for most receptions in a single season by a Cardinals tight end.

Arizona — under former general manager Steve Keim — inked Ertz to a three-year, $31.65 million extension after the 2021 season and bolstered the tight end group by taking Colorado State’s Trey McBride in the second round of the NFL Draft.

Last year, Ertz played 10 games and caught 47 passes with four touchdowns, but a torn ACL ended his season early. Ertz was named Arizona’s Walter Payton Man of the Year honoree following the campaign.

He returned by Week 1 of 2023 and produced 27 catches for 187 yards and a touchdown before the quad injury.

Teams can claim Ertz for approximately $2.5 million, or he will clear waivers and become a free agent.

The Cardinals have four active tight ends on the roster: McBride, 30-year-old Geoff Swaim and 23-year-olds Blake Whiteheart and Elijah Higgins.

McBride has seen an uptick in snaps since Ertz’s injury and has 33 catches in the five games without the veteran, including an eight-catch, 131-yard game against the Atlanta Falcons in Murray’s return from a torn ACL.

He has 48 receptions this year and is a threat to break Ertz’s and Smith’s record with five games left on the slate.

Arizona is 2-10 with a matchup against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday before the bye week.

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