The book of Zach Ertz's mid-season free agency opened last week, it thickened earlier this week, and it will most probably come to an ending midway through next week. With the Arizona Cardinals and the superstar tight end agreeing to part ways and the Baltimore Ravens considered to be in the race to sign him, what can we expect next?
Last week, Ertz's teammate J.J. Watt announced the departure of the tight end from Arizona after both parties mutually agreed to his release. Ertz wants to play for a contender and to ring-chase for the remainder of the 2023 season, so the agreement made all of the sense.
Earlier this week, on Monday, John Harbaugh was asked about the possibility of Baltimore signing the tight end after the Ravens were added to Ertz's sweepstakes by most NFL insiders.
Per Jamison Hensley of ESPN, Harbaugh said, "I would say this: we like our TEs. We really like our guys," seemingly ruling out any signing during the next few days and weeks.
That was interesting to hear considering Andrews will miss the remainder of the regular season and probably a chunk of the playoffs. That said, Harbaugh once more said "[Andrews] is going to do everything he can to get back down the road," which was very promising.
The latest chapter of this saga brings us to last Wednesday, when it wasn't reported that Ertz had signed with any team, thus ruling him unofficially eligible to play this weekend in Week 14 for any team of his choice. That means the tight end would (and will) wait until next week to sign a deal.
We reported the news and considered that as a glimmer of hope and a wink-wink type of move by Ertz to the Ravens, who might still be negotiating and trying to reach a deal with the tight end.
It's worth noting that Baltimore is the interested (per reports, at least) team with the biggest need at the position and that Ertz isn't his old self anymore but is still a very talented and capable playmaker.
The Ravens are going to fight for Ertz's right during the next few hours, most probably against the Chiefs and the Eagles. Ertz should sign his deal before Wednesday if he wants to play in Week 15, as players not on a roster by Thursday (let alone those joining a new team) usually have a tough time getting ready for Sunday's matchups.
Kansas City visits the lowly Patriots and the Eagles won't play until MNF as they'll face the Seahawks on the road. The Ravens play at Jacksonville on Sunday, Dec. 17 in the SNF primetime slot, making for a flashy stage for Ertz to make his debut in the purple and black.