The Philadelphia Eagles recently re-engaged negotiations with star tight end Zach Ertz regarding a potential contract extension, perhaps spurred on by lucrative deals for tight ends George Kittle and Travis Kelce this offseason. Those negotiations just came to an “abrupt halt,” however, over the Eagles’ latest offer to the three-time Pro Bowler. That’s according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, who said Thursday that Philadelphia proposed giving Ertz less guaranteed money than they offered in talks during the 2019 season.

“(The Eagles) made an offer that had less guaranteed money than their offer in November,” Rapoport reported. “The back-loaded offer also had less cash over the next four seasons annually than Austin Hooper’s Browns contract.”

Hooper, 25, reset the TE market in free agency — before the Kittle and Kelce extensions — with a four-year, $42 million deal. Assuming the Eagles actually offered Ertz less than Hooper’s average annual salary of $10.5 million, that would also mark a decline from the last time the team extended Ertz a proposal. According to salary cap expert and CBS Sports contributor Joel Corry, the Eagles offered their starting TE an extension “in the $12 million per-year neighborhood” before the close of the 2019 season.

With this week’s “abrupt halt” to negotiations, NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo reports the two sides will probably “be done talking for a while,” but noted the Eagles “have not closed the door on further discussions,” whether in the short or long term.

As part of a five-year, $42.5 million deal signed in 2016, Ertz still remains under contract with the Eagles through 2021. In light of both Kelce and Kittle — comparably productive players at his position — landing big money, however, there’s a reasonable case to be made that the Eagles’ Super Bowl-winning TE is now severely underpaid:

Ertz is beloved by the Eagles on and off the field — a steady receiver, the quarterback’s best friend, and a lock for the team Hall of Fame. But Philadelphia is also projected to be among the most cap-strapped teams in the NFL in 2021 when the league is expected to endure a reduced salary cap as a result of financial losses amid COVID-19. Perhaps even more importantly, they also have a quasi-starting TE in Dallas Goedert, the team’s 2018 second-round draft pick whose contract also expires after the 2021 campaign.


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