The Arizona Cardinals released tight end Zach Ertz Thursday, in a move that has the potential to benefit a team in the throes of a run at the Super Bowl.
A source close to Ertz tells FanBuzz that the 33-year-old requested his release from the Cardinals, hopes to land with a contender where he can make a run at winning the Super Bowl for the second time.
Despite wildly inconsistent quarterback play this season, Ertz caught 27 passes for 187 yards with one touchdown through seven games prior to being granted his release.
Ertz arrived in Arizona after being traded by the Eagles prior to the deadline in 2021, and has logged 709 receptions for 7,434 yards with 46 touchdowns during his career that includes three trips to the Pro Bowl and hoisting the Lombardi Trophy following the 2017 season.
Because Ertz is under contract through the 2024 season, he will be subject to the waiver wire, but because it would cost any team that claims him $2.5 million against the cap for the remainder of this season, there is a chance that he will clear waivers and be free to sign with any team.
A return to Philadelphia, where Ertz was selected in the second-round of the 2013 NFL Draft and ultimately won a Super Bowl ring, might be the best fit and most likely destination for the three-time Pro Bowler.
General manager Howie Roseman and the Eagles have not been shy about their aggressiveness when it comes to adding veteran talent for the stretch run in recent years, and Ertz would fill a pressing need in quarterback Jalen Hurts' supporting cast. With Dallas Goedert sidelined, Ertz would likely walk into a starting role immediately and could form a prolific two-tight end duo once Goedert returns to action.
In Goedert's absence, the Eagles have struggled to find a consistent third-option in the passing game behind dynamic receivers A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith, but Ertz offers the potential to develop into exactly what Hurts and the offense have been looking for.
Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson has made major strides in his development as a pocket passer this season, but Baltimore is averaging only 207 passing yards per game, while making a strong push for the No. 1 seed in the AFC and homefield advantage throughout the playoffs.
Baltimore's offense was dealt a significant blow when Mark Andrews suffered an ankle injury that ultimate required surgery and could put the remainder of his 2023 season in peril. Ertz is exactly the kind of savvy, reliable veteran pass-catcher who can serve not only as Jackson's security blanked but as a legitimate red-zone weapon for the Ravens' offense, as well.
Ertz has three catches for 17 yards with a touchdown inside the red-zone so far this season, but could potentially see that number skyrocket if he winds up paired with Jackson.
Green Bay Packers
Thanks to steadily improving play from quarterback Jordan Love, the Green Bay Packers suddenly find themselves beating on the doorstep of the playoffs, despite rookie sensation Luke Musgrave suffering a lacerated kidney that could sideline him the rest of the season.
Before getting hurt, Musgrave had pulled down 33 passes for 341 yards with a touchdown, and had been developing a strong chemistry as one of Love's favorite targets. Ertz could be the kind of player who helps elevate Love's game, and could see plenty of opportunities given the deep-threat that wide receiver Christian Watson has developed into in recent weeks.
The Dolphins' offense is built around explosive speed, both on the perimeter via wide receivers Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle as well as a stable of dynamic running backs. But, one element that has been missing for quarterback Tua Tagovailoa and Miami's offense this season is consistent production out of the tight end position.
Through Miami's first 11 games, Durham Smythe leads all Dolphins tight ends with just 18 catches for 178 yards, and he has yet to catch a touchdown pass. In South Beach, Ertz would vault to the top of the Dolphins' depth chart, emerge as a legitimate weapon for Tagovailoa, and would have a legitimate chance at winning a Super Bowl as Miami has the weapons on offense to make a run through the AFC gauntlet.
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