In a transaction nobody truly expected, the Arizona Cardinals seemingly decided to waive veteran tight end Zach Ertz on Thursday, Nov. 30, as confirmed by the team on Thursday and former Cardinals defensive end J.J. Watt, revealing the tight end asked for his release.
Watt took to X yesterday to announce that Ertz had been "granted his release from the Arizona Cardinals," as well as to reveal that Ertz intends to join a contender in pursuit of his second Super Bowl ring.
Ertz, a three-time Pro Bowler, has had a tough year in the desert. He landed on Injured Reserve in late October due to a quad injury and through seven games this year he's leaving Arizona with 27 receptions for 187 yards and a single touchdown.
The Cardinals traded for Ertz with the Philadelphia Eagles in October 2021 but they are cutting ties with the superstar tight end just two years after completing that move.
Replacing Ertz, Trey McBride has performed well for the Cardinals, which is believed to have influenced this decision made by Arizona as they already have someone in tow who can take over Ertz's role and production for the remainder of the season and in future years.
Looking ahead, the two most obvious landing spots for Ertz are the Baltimore Ravens and the Philadelphia Eagles, who are both leading their respective conferences and considered bonafide contenders.
As Ertz hits waivers, his $2.5 million 2023 base salary isn't hefty and could make some non-contenders try and snatch the veteran off waivers.
That said, 33rd Team insider Ari Meirov suggested on Thursday that it is unlikely that a team will claim him off waivers outside of the Eagles (Ertz's long-time team in the past) and perhaps the Ravens or other Super Bowl contender out of fear of getting a disgruntled player.
The next milestone for Ertz is to clear waivers on December 1. Once Friday comes to an end, Ertz will be free to choose his next team freely, including picking the Ravens if Baltimore offers him a deal.
The Philadelphia Eagles have emerged as the strongest candidate to end up with Ertz's services given his history with the team, although it's unclear if the tight end would entertain other venues such as Baltimore, even more considering the Ravens have seen their first-string tight end suffer a near-season-ending injury of late and have no equal player in the roster.