Report: Former Cardinals TE Zach Ertz signing with Lions
Jan 22, 2024, 9:53 AM | Updated: Jan 24, 2024, 1:59 pm
(Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)
Former Arizona Cardinals tight end Zach Ertz has finally found a new home, signing with the Detroit Lions on Wedneday.
NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero was first to report the move on Monday.
The signing comes after Detroit punched its NFC Championship ticket with a 31-23 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Sunday’s divisional round tilt. The Lions, however, didn’t come out of the victory unscathed, with No. 2 tight end Brock Wright suffering a forearm injury.
Pelissero added earlier in the week that Ertz could potentially be elevated ahead of the championship matchup against the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday. In the Cardinals’ Week 4 loss to the 49ers, Ertz caught six of his 10 targets for 53 yards.
The move also reunites Ertz with former Cardinals tight ends coach Steve Heiden (2019-22), who serves in the same role for Detroit.
Ertz has been looking for somewhere to play since asking for his release from the Cardinals on Nov. 30. It was an unceremonious end to Ertz’s tenure in the desert, with the tight end recording just 27 catches for 187 yards and a touchdown in his final seven games with Arizona.
Arizona didn’t look back, either, turning to second-year pro Trey McBride to carry the bulk of the workload in the TEs room.
With Ertz no longer ahead of him on the depth chart, McBride flourished in Year 2, racking up 81 catches for 825 yards and three touchdowns. He finished first among Cardinals pass catchers in receptions and yards and came in tied for second in receiving scores.
But above all else, McBride gained some valuable confidence and chemistry with quarterback Kyler Murray that should only grow next season. The tight end also improved immensely as a blocker.
Ertz now will get up to speed alongside another impressive youngster in Sam LaPorta.
The rookie out of Iowa ended the regular season tied for first among Lions pass catchers in touchdowns (10) and was second on the team in catches (86) and receiving yards (889) across 17 games played.
Through two postseason games, LaPorta is up to 79 yards and a score on 12 receptions.