Dallas Goedert had hoped he wouldn’t go into this season without a contract extension, but he’ll do just that after the Eagles apparently balked at negotiations the last few months.
The 26-year-old tight end spoke with reporters Monday and conceded he was expecting to have a long-term deal by now, but noted he wasn’t upset by the Eagles’ hesitancy.
“We thought we’d have a deal done by this time of the year, but the team just decided to go a different way,” Goedert said. “We haven’t gotten that done yet. I’m not too worried about it. I believe in what I can do. I believe in being able to go out and perform, and whatever happens happens. I’m not too worried about my contract right now, I just want to focus on winning games, winning the division, and ultimately winning the Super Bowl.”
Goedert’s comments came less than a week removed from fellow tight end Zach Ertz saying he had repaired his relationship with the Eagles’ front office after he spent most of last season unhappy with failed extension talks and an unfulfilled trade request over the offseason.
Both Goedert and Ertz, 30, are in the final year of their respective contracts and will be free agents unless extended before the offseason.
Former Eagles president Joe Banner said late last week that the team might be hesitant to tie up significant money to two tight ends, even if it’s at the expense of Goedert, the team’s second-round pick in the 2018 draft.
“The possibility of Ertz playing a few more years is real, and then there’s a real question about whether you want to invest a lot of money in two tight ends,” Banner told the Inquirer. “If you ask me my best guess, we’ll still see them re-sign Goedert at some point, but I think the chances that that changes now are real. They have alternatives to have a quality, at least one, starting tight end going forward.”
The Eagles could keep both of them, but they also have young tight ends in Tyree Jackson and Jack Stoll on the active roster and could opt to keep just one veteran to pair with a younger, cheaper option. Jackson, a converted quarterback from the University of Buffalo, was one of the standouts in training camp before suffering a back injury that will sideline him for a few months.
“If they feel like they have somebody that is developable to be somebody that can be effective in a two-tight-end formation and is a quality person and inexpensive for the immediate future, it takes off the table any discussion about signing both of them [Ertz and Goedert],” Banner said. “If they feel like they have someone quality ready to step in. They’ll have to decide, based on skill set, age, and everything else, which one of those guys they should bet on for the next three or four years.”
Goedert had an up-and-down training camp, starting the summer practices on the sideline because of a failed conditioning test. When he returned to the field, he split reps or shared the field with Ertz, depending on the personnel grouping.
Goedert acknowledged his contract situation isn’t ideal but said he didn’t think it would be a distraction during the season.
“I’d love to have a contract,” he said. “It takes a little bit [uncertainty] off, you know where you’re going to be for the next X amount of years. But for me, I really don’t think about it that much.”
Ertz’s newfound commitment to the team will have some impact on Goedert’s snaps, as it has each season since the Eagles drafted the South Dakota State standout.
The Eagles have been one of the most consistent users of two-tight-end personnel since Goedert’s arrival, either leading the league or tying for the league lead in percentage of plays run out of the 12-personnel grouping in each of the last three years.
Even with first-year coach Nick Sirianni at the helm, the Eagles will likely continue using plenty of two-tight-end sets with their new coaching staff. Indianapolis, where Sirianni was the offensive coordinator for the last three years, was also a heavy user of 12-personnel.
“There’s different things that we can do personnel-wise because we have good players,” Sirianni said Monday. “ ... We’re really excited to game plan, obviously we’ve been game planning already, but we’re really excited to game plan for a guy like Zach Ertz.”
When asked if Ertz’s return to the fold had an impact on his extension talks, Goedert said the team and his agent stopped negotiating before Ertz’s situation was resolved.
“I think when negotiations ended, it wasn’t still [known] if he was going to be here or not,” Goedert said. “But like I said, I’m happy that he’s here. I had a four-year deal when I came into the league, I’m playing on my last year. I’m excited just to go out there and show the world what I can do.”