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Maxx Impact: Cardinals Trade For Tight End Zach Ertz

Team deals fifth-round pick, cornerback Tay Gowan to Eagles

The Cardinals boosted their tight ends room Friday by trading for veteran Zach Ertz of the Eagles.
The Cardinals boosted their tight ends room Friday by trading for veteran Zach Ertz of the Eagles.

When Maxx Williams was lost for the season with a knee injury, the Cardinals had a need at tight end.

Friday morning, they filled the need with a talented replacement.

The Cardinals traded for veteran tight end Zach Ertz, a player with whom the team had been potentially linked since the offseason, sending the Philadelphia Eagles rookie cornerback Tay Gowan and a 2022 fifth-round draft pick. The trade is contingent on both players passing physicals.

"I'm excited," coach Kliff Kingsbury said. "I've heard nothing but good things about him.

"I think he'll fit right in with this locker room and I think (GM) Steve (Keim) did a tremendous job getting that done."

Ertz isn't available Sunday but Kingsbury said Ertz will play next week when the Cardinals host the Houston Texans. ESPN reported Ertz is flying with the team to Cleveland to start the process of integrating to the team.

"Obviously I'm excited to be going to a team like the Arizona Cardinals, who are rolling right now, and be able to add my skill set to that team," said Ertz, who because of his revered status in Philadelphia gave a farewell press conference after the trade was announced.

"Ecstatic about that situation, to be able to walk into that building and show what kind of player I am, the work ethic I have, with no expectation. Just want to win football games."

Ertz, who is scheduled to be a free agent after the season, caught a touchdown pass for the Eagles in their loss Thursday night against the Buccaneers. He was emotional after the game, and speculation was that he could be dealt. Ertz acknowledged Friday he cried in his locker for 30 minutes after the game knowing the trade was coming, and Eagles GM Howie Roseman said he first talked to Ertz about the trade on Tuesday.

Ertz is owed roughly $5.5 million the balance of this season. He had 18 catches for 189 yards and two touchdowns for the Eagles in six games. He is a three-time Pro Bowler and made the All-Pro team in 2018. Ertz was teammates with linebacker Jordan Hicks in Philadelphia, and assistant coach Bill Davis also coached in Philadelphia with Ertz.

"He's a complete player,' Kingsbury said. "I think you saw Maxx's production continue to increase, and (Ertz) fills a role for us right now."

Gowan was a project for the Cardinals. The rookie made the 53-man roster but was raw and had not been active on game days even with the Cardinals suffering injuries at the position.

With his contract situation, Ertz -- without an extension -- had been looking to move on last offseason. There were many who made connections to the Cardinals, both because the Cards were seen as a team that needed tight end help and also with Ertz's wife -- Julie, a member of the U.S. National Women's Soccer Team -- having grown up in nearby Mesa.

Julie Ertz plays professional soccer with the NWSL's Chicago Red Stars -- and is teammates with Kealia Watt, the wife of Cardinals defensive lineman J.J. Watt.

Williams went on injured reserve earlier this week. The rest of the tight end room includes Darrell Daniels and Demetrius Harris, with Richard Rodgers and Ross Travis on the practice squad.

"I know guys have seemed excited about (the trade)," running back James Conner said. "We've got a good thing going, and anyone who hops on this moving train, we will embrace him and welcome him with open arms."


With quarterback Kyler Murray dealing with a right shoulder issue, Kingsbury said he thinks Murray is fine. He was asked if it could impact what plays the Cardinals might call on Sunday.

"You'll have to watch," Kingsbury said.

Murray does not carry an injury designation for the game and practiced full Friday. Wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins (illness) also practiced fully and is good to play.

Kingsbury said starting cornerbacks Byron Murphy (ribs) and Marco Wilson (ribs) as well as starting inside linebacker Jordan Hicks (toe) will be a game-day decision, and right tackle Kelvin Beachum (ribs) and running back Chase Edmonds (shoulder) also carry questionable designations.

For the Browns, running back Nick Chubb (calf) is out, a significant development in terms of battling the top-ranking rushing team in the league. Linebacker Malcolm Smith (abdomen) is also out.

The Browns have a ton of questionable players: defensive end Jadeveon Clowney (elbow/knee), tackle Jack Conklin (knee, didn't practice all week), defensive end Myles Garrett (knee/ankle), cornerback A.J. Green (shoulder/knee), running back Kareem Hunt (wrist/knee), defensive end Takkarist McKinley (ankle/knee), cornerback Greg Newsome II (calf), center J.C. Tretter (knee), cornerback Denzel Ward (neck) and tackle Jedrick Wills Jr. (ankle).