The guy who would change the Cardinals offense more than Julio Jones

(Photo by Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports) Zach Ertz
(Photo by Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports) Zach Ertz /

The Arizona Cardinals have lacked a talented tight end for a long time. Acquiring Zach Ertz from the Philadelphia Eagles would change that.

For the majority of the 21st century, the Arizona Cardinals have neglected the tight end position. There were some players who shined bright for a few moments, but none ever became career Cardinals.

For an offense that prides itself on having great pass catchers, Arizona tight ends have only looked semi-decent during the last two seasons, with Dan Arnold being the most productive at the position in years. It would be great if he were still on the team, but I digress. With no other true safety blanket in the receiving corps, current Philadelphia Eagles tight end Zach Ertz would provide that for Kyler Murray.

In the past, the safety-blanket role has been played by Larry Fitzgerald. However, the connection between Murray and Fitzgerald has only resulted in just over 1,200 receiving yards and five touchdowns the past two years. It’s unclear if there ever was a disconnect in Murray’s effort to get the ball to Fitzgerald. Of course, DeAndre Hopkins being in his prime will take a lot of that away in terms of production.

What impact Philadelphia Eagles tight end Zach Ertz could have on the Arizona Cardinals passing game?

For starters, if Ertz was acquired from the Eagles, he’d be statistically the second-best tight end to ever play for Arizona, behind Hall of Famer Jackie Smith. In fact, the career stats are pretty close between the two of them.

Totals Table
1Zach Ertz2013202011756160783610.860
2Jackie Smith*1963197821048079184016.581

Secondly, Ertz has been among the NFL’s top-10 performing tight ends in four out of the last five years.  In the past, A top-10 player at the position has been proven to help a team make the playoffs.

From 2016 to 2019, Ertz had more than 800 yards in each of those four years. Coincidentally, he made the playoffs in three of those four seasons with Philadelphia.

No Cardinals tight end has hit 800 or more yards since Smith did it in 1967. Ertz can hit this mark with Arizona and his addition to the offense would only increase the number of guessing games the opposing defenses would be forced to perform before the snap.

Adding in All-Pro Atlanta Falcons pass catcher Julio Jones to a crowded Cardinals receivers room would make things tough when it comes time to figure out who is going to be cut before the season, especially since Fitzgerald is still undecided on his future.

While Jones over Christian Kirk is an easy argument to win, cap concerns, trade capital, and the “too many mouths to feed” conversation definitely plays a role in the chances of Jones landing with Arizona being less of a reality.

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The Cardinals should definitely pony up for Ertz before next season. His impact on the team has the potential to be historic for a team trying to win its first-ever Super Bowl ring.