Zach Ertz remains a free agent, and the San Francisco 49ers could still sign the three-time Pro Bowl tight end.
Niners head coach Kyle Shanahan downplayed that possibility but acknowledged injuries are a consideration. The 49ers have little tight end depth after George Kittle, and the team won’t have tight end Ross Dwelley for several weeks due to a high ankle sprain, Shanahan confirmed.
“I know [general manager] John [Lynch] looks into all that stuff. I haven’t heard anything about it now, so I wouldn’t think so at this time,” Shanahan told reporters on Monday.
“But, I have a lot of respect for him as a player. I’ve always been a fan,” Shanahan added regarding Ertz. “But right now, at least from my standpoint, we’re good with our group, but we have injuries and things change so we’ll look into all options as always.”
Ron Kroichick of the San Francisco Chronicle wrote that Shanahan “kept the door open” for Ertz in his comments amid Dwelley’s absence. In addition, 49ers Sports Talk wrote that the Niners “are indeed in discussions with” Ertz via a post on X, formerly Twitter.
The #49ers are indeed in discussions with former Eagles & Cardinals TE Zach Ertz, per a source close to the matter.
— 49ers & NFL News 24/7 (@49ersSportsTalk) December 5, 2023
San Francisco has competition for Ertz with “at least” three other teams interested in him, per 49ers Sports Talk. That includes the Philadelphia Eagles, Kansas City Chiefs, and Baltimore Ravens — all serious playoff contenders.
Zach Ertz Could Return Home if He Joins 49ers
He grew up in Orange, California, and he played college football in the Bay Area at Stanford from 2009 to 2012. The Eagles drafted Ertz in 2013 with a second-round pick, and he turned into a reliable pass-catcher for the team until 2021 when the organization traded him to Arizona in the middle of the season.
Ertz’s time in Philly included a Super Bowl win, three Pro Bowl appearances, and 6,267 yards receiving for 38 touchdowns on 579 receptions. He maintained a solid level of play in the desert with 130 receptions for 1,167 yards and eight touchdowns for the Cardinals.
Injury History and Potential Asking Price Are Concerns With Zach Ertz
Injuries have been a concern for Ertz in recent years, including an ACL and MCL tear in 2022. He also missed five games in 2020 due to an ankle sprain, and he missed one game in 2019 due to a fractured rib and lacerated kidney.
Ertz could sign for an affordable price amid the 49ers’ $39.9 million in salary cap space. He previously had a $31.65 million deal over three years with Arizona, and his salary cap hit of $11.6 million arguably kept teams away through the waiver wire.
The Cardinals only had him for seven games this season amid 27 receptions for 187 yards and a touchdown.