The Philadelphia Eagles are starting to make moves in their offseason as they evaluate in-house talent before hitting the free agency market and the NFL Draft. While most of the attention has been on the potential return of Sam Bradford, the Eagles are getting a few other key contracts done in order to set themselves up in the offseason and Zach Ertz was the first to get paid.
According to ESPN's Adam Caplan, the Eagles have signed Ertz to a five-year, $42.5 million contract with $20 million in guaranteed money. The former second-round draft pick has developed into a key piece of the offense while being a safety blanket for Bradford in 2015. Ertz made it clear that he intends to become one of the best tight ends in the league and the progress in 2015 shows that can easily happen.
"My goal definitely isn't to be top five," Ertz said, via Paul Domowitch of the Philadelphia Daily News. "It's to be the best in the league. That's something that I'm going to take pride in [trying] to accomplish. I don't play this game to be an average tight end. I play this game to be the best tight end I can possibly be and win as many football games as I possibly can. And I'm going to push myself to accomplish those goals over the next five years."
According to Jeff McLane of Philly.com, the Eagles will move forward with Jordan Matthews, Nelson Agholor and Ertz as their three main wide receivers. That is expected to be the core group with DeMarco Murray and Ryan Mathews running the ground game. That means Riley Cooper and Darren Sproles could be pushed out come the start of the offseason. Cooper has fallen out of favor in the offense having yet to live up to his contract extension. The Eagles will chase a receiver in the offseason, but Cooper is not expected to return just because of the need.
Sproles is an unknown in Philadelphia. With one year left on his contract, he is a manageable deal to keep around. The running back's versatility has been a game-changed at times for the Eagles. Head coach Doug Pederson could have a tough decision on his hands with Sproles as the running back told the local CBS station in Philadelphia that he wants to return.
"I still want to be playing and it bothers me we're not in the playoffs," Sproles told CBSPhilly.com. "I'll go back and train and spend time with my family. Things will depend on the new coach. I still fight the same battle."
While the offensive pieces get ironed out this offseason, the biggest question mark remains Bradford. According to ESPN.com, given the status of quarterbacks in free agency and the NFL Draft, the Eagles would be wise to re-sign Bradford. The quarterback could excel under the guidance of Pederson who will run a different system than Chip Kelly. Matthews has already put in his request to bring the quarterback back and now Ertz is saying the same thing.
"I would love that. I know a lot of guys would love to have Sam back," Ertz said, via Philly.com. "At the same time, we're very confident in Doug [Pederson] and Howie and Mr. [Jeffrey] Lurie to decide who is going to be the best person to play quarterback."