It's not often that an NFL team can have three remarkably good tight ends.
One of the less talked about strengths for the Eagles in their run for a Super Bowl last season was their trio of tight ends in Zach Ertz, Brent Celek and Trey Burton. It's looking more and more possible that only one of the three will return to the Eagles in 2018.
Philly had the most productive tight end position in football, with 123 receptions caught by the three players for 1,202 yards and 14 touchdowns. That's more catches than NFL leader Jarvis Landry, more touchdowns than leader DeAndrew Hopkins and would rank seventh in yards among league pass-catchers.
Ertz was the third best tight end in the NFL stat-wise and the Birds' top receiver. He will be back as Carson Wentz' favorite weapon again next season. Celek is a prime candidate to be cut due to salary cap constraints or retire after winning a Super Bowl ring in his 11th NFL season (at age 33). Burton, who caught five touchdowns this season and will forever be a Philadelphia hero after throwing a touchdown pass to Nick Foles in the now famous "Philly Special" play on fourth down against the Patriots, will be too expensive for the Eagles to re-sign this spring.
According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, 16 teams are interested in signing Burton and it is looking like he will be some team's No. 1 tight end next season.
With the #Eagles stocked at TE and dealing with cap considerations, free agent Trey Burton is expected to leave Philly. He had 16 teams check in on his status this week, and he’ll have a strong market.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 3, 2018
In Burton, a new NFL team will be getting a player who can do a little of everything. He has shown he can throw and catch, but he can also line up and block from several positions including as a fullback — a position the Eagles did not have last season. In a key play in the playoffs, helping LeGarrette Blount to score on a fourth down against the Falcons he did just that.
"Trey is versatile enough," Eagles former offensive coordinator (and new Colts head coach) Frank Reich said. "We’ve put him back there in practice for some other things. We've moved him, Trey can do that kind of stuff and obviously you saw that play. He goes in the backfield and he has a tremendous block on that play. So you know, just a credit to his versatility."
The Eagles could be targeting a tight end in the NFL draft to fill the hole at a cheaper price.