Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts has built a rapport with tight end Zach Ertz, so without Ertz, Hurts’ passing game will take a hit.
Chemistry cannot be overrated in the NFL.
As 2020 proved, teams need the offseason to build a rapport with fellow players. While every position group needs it, quarterbacks require chemistry with receivers in order to accurately time their passes.
For a young quarterback like Jalen Hurts, the people he’s built the most chemistry with should be indispensable in the Eagles offense. One of those people was tight end Zach Ertz, and he’s now been traded away to the 5-0 Arizona Cardinals.
Ertz makes Arizona’s super team even better, but his Philly departure undoubtedly makes the 2-4 Eagles worse.
Trading away Zach Ertz hurts Jalen Hurts and the Eagles
Jalen Hurts has proven that he possesses the talent to become one of the NFL’s best quarterbacks. Part of that is because possesses something the league’s best passers all share.
What Patrick Mahomes, Tom Brady and Jalen Hurts have all proven is that their elite tight ends have become favored targets for securing first downs and moving the chains.
Hurts has spread the ball around with 1480 passing yards this season, but a substantial number of game-changing plays have passed through the hands of Ertz. Ertz has caught 18 of Hurts’ 130 passes for 189 yards and two touchdowns. Through Week 5, Ertz had a 15 percent target share compared to Goedert’s 11 percent. That’s a substantial chunk of the offense that just got traded away.
It makes sense that the Cardinals would trade for Ertz — they’re making a clear play for the Super Bowl with their monumental 2021 roster adds — but the only reason the Eagles would trade away Ertz is in hopes of a better future. The 30-year-old’s value will inevitably decline over time, and the Eagles are already equipped with Dallas Goedert. With two high-caliber tight ends, rumors have been swirling about trading one of them, and it happened to be Ertz.
This way, the 23-year-old Hurts can mesh with his current receivers like Goedert, Jalen Reagor, and former Alabama teammate DeVonta Smith. With Ertz out of the picture, the fantasy value of these receivers has shot up significantly.
“Goedert was only running a route on 59% of dropbacks in a timeshare with Ertz, per Dwain McFarland of Pro Football Focus,” wrote Erin Walsh for Bleacher Report. “He should now push past 80% with Ertz gone.”
Perhaps the Eagles waited to trade Ertz until after they played the Buccaneers so that Goedert has time to recover on the COVID-19 list and return to play for Week 7. While the Eagles can withstand trading Ertz with Goedert on the squad, it’s a move that will hurt Jalen’s potential on the field.