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Cardinals Release Zach Ertz

Tight end had been on IR as McBride blossoms

The Cardinals have moved on from tight end Zach Ertz, reportedly a mutual parting of the ways.
The Cardinals have moved on from tight end Zach Ertz, reportedly a mutual parting of the ways.

As Trey McBride has earned the job of TE1 for the Cardinals, how Zach Ertz was going to fit in was a question.

The answer came Thursday, when the Cardinals officially released the veteran tight end, a mutual parting of the ways as first reported by Ertz's former teammate J.J. Watt.

Ertz has been on Injured Reserve with a quad injury and has missed five games. Given the move this late in the season, Ertz must still go through waivers despite his veteran status. He would still be owed about $2.5 million for any team that claimed him. NFL Network reported Ertz agreed to give up one week's game check to help facilitate the move.

Ertz arrived in trade in 2021 and played well, tying the franchise record for receptions with 56 (for 574 yards and three TDs) despite playing in just 11 games after a trade from the Eagles. Last season, Ertz was on pace to smash the franchise record for catches when he tore his ACL in the Cardinals' 10th game. He finished with 46 catches for 406 yards and four touchdowns.

His return allowed him to play Week 1 this season and Ertz said he was fine physically, but the production in a Kyler Murray-less offense never clicked. He had 27 catches but only 187 yards with a touchdown. Once Ertz was sidelined, McBride was noticeably more effective.

Ertz had been under contract through 2024, but he was likely to be released in the offseason given his status on the roster and his salary.

The Cardinals have McBride, Geoff Swaim, Elijah Higgins, and Blake Whiteheart on the roster at the position.


The Cardinals re-signed defensive lineman Ben Stille to the practice squad, after releasing him from the roster earlier this week. Stille has already been elevated three times from the practice squad for games, so his only chance to play games is to be promoted to the roster.