New Orleans Saints: Zach Ertz would shore up tight end position

Zach Ertz (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Zach Ertz (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images) /

The New Orleans Saints are looking at a different tight end room for the 2021 season. Jared Cook signed with the Chargers and Josh Hill retired, leaving the Saints with former third-round pick Adam Trautman to lead the charge at the position. Trading for Zach Ertz would give this unit a much-needed boost.

Ertz, a former second-round pick out of Stanford by the Eagles in 2013, is coming off the worst season of his career. He had career lows in catches (36 — Tied with his rookie year total), receiving yards (335), and touchdowns (one) through 11 games. Injuries had their way with Ertz in 2020 and that, paired with the emergence of Dallas Goedert, have put the Eagles in a spot where they can part ways with Ertz.

The Saints have struggled to find a legitimate tight end since Jimmy Graham was traded years ago and while Ertz wouldn’t be the long-term answer, pairing him with Trautman is a smart move for a few reasons.

  1. It gives the Saints a more reliable option as their No. 1 tight end.
  2. Trautman would have a mentor ahead of him.
  3. This is one of the weaker areas on the team and Ertz would change that.

The New Orleans Saints should trade for Zach Ertz.

Regarding No. 1 on my list, Ertz has eight years of NFL experience under his belt and is used to being ‘the guy’ at tight end. He’s just three years removed from a season where he hauled in 116 receptions for 1,163 yards and eight touchdowns. During that time, Ertz was one of the best tight ends in the league and he’s still just 30 years old. That production could certainly return once he’s healthy.

With No. 2, Trautman has just one year of NFL experience on his resumé and it wasn’t exactly an inspiring rookie campaign. The third-round pick out of Dayton had just 15 catches for 171 yards and a touchdown through 15 games. He was sitting behind Cook and sometimes Hill but there were chances for Trautman to shine and he failed to deliver.

Trading for Ertz probably isn’t on the Saints’ to-do list simply because they don’t have a lot to surrender in a trade. They’re strapped for cash and don’t have many draft picks to play around with (and the ones they do have, they need pretty badly), which means they’d have to rely on the Eagles releasing Ertz.

If this happens, Ertz has his pick of any team to land with and the Saints probably wouldn’t rank above other teams with better situations. If he’s ring-chasing, New Orleans isn’t a likely landing spot due to their uncertainty at the quarterback position.

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While it’s fun to imagine Zach Ertz in the Big Easy and he’d help the tight ends thrive, this isn’t something that Saints fans should bet on happening.