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Eagles bring back Richard Rodgers for fourth time in four years as Zach Ertz’s future remains uncertain

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The Philadelphia Eagles are bringing back a familiar face to their tight end group, signing Richard Rodgers to a one-year deal and adding much-needed depth at the position. Philadelphia arguably has the top 1-2 pairing in the league at tight end with Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert, even if Ertz’s future with the team is uncertain. Adding Rodgers gives the Eagles a second tight end in case Ertz departs this offseason. 

Rodgers finished 2020 with 24 catches for 345 yards and two touchdowns, averaging 14.4 yards per catch in 14 games. This is the fourth time in four years the Eagles signed Rodgers since he joined the team prior to the 2018 season, but Rodgers logged significant snaps with injuries to Ertz and Goedert last year. 

The Eagles have an insurance policy at the No. 2 tight end spot in Rodgers, who could pair with Goedert this year. The Eagles aren’t expected to run as much “12” personnel this season, as the Indianapolis Colts offense — of which head coach Nick Sirianni was the offensive coordinator — used that grouping on just 21% of the offensive snaps last year (per Sharp Football Stats). The Eagles used “12” personnel on a league-high 35% of the snaps last season. 

What does the signing of Rodgers mean for the future of Ertz? The veteran tight end is still under contract by the Eagles and is on the hook for $12,721,500 this season, but Philadelphia can save $8.5 million in salary cap space if the franchise can cut or trade Ertz. The Eagles would of course prefer not to release Ertz and receive draft compensation for him, which they are still holding out hope a tight end-needy team will give them decent draft compensation. 

Philadelphia could just hang onto Ertz and attempt to patch things up, going with Ertz and Goedert at the top two tight end spots with Rodgers serving as valuable depth. Ertz has one year remaining on his contract, as does Goedert.