Q. Howie, if you could just give us a general idea of why you made the move and how it helps the team. (Reuben Frank)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: First of all, [TE] Zach Ertz, his lasting legacy on this team, on and off the field in this city, some of the most iconic moments in the history of the franchise were from Zach. Just tremendous appreciation for him as a player; Eagles Hall of Famer; on the verge of maybe the NFL Hall of Fame and as a person. The amount of conversations you have with him and his love of the game and his love of the city.
It’s a hard day in terms of why we did this. It was about opportunity. Opportunity for the Eagles, opportunity for Zach as we move forward.
Q. How much did TE Dallas Goedert’s future factor into this with the Eagles and also what can you kind of tell us about CB Tay Gowan? (John McMullen)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: First of all, I think it’s become pretty clear to us that going forward we weren’t going to be able to have both those guys. They’re both free agents at the end of the year. And it gives us an opportunity for Dallas to step up and be that number one guy. Really have that opportunity for the first time in his career and play a lot.
It gives him the opportunity also to put his stamp as a leader on this team, as well as the guys behind him. I think some of the circumstances that changed was getting the chance to see [TE] Tyree Jackson and wanted to see him in games as he comes back over the next couple of weeks.
And [TE] Jack Stoll and [TE] Noah [Togiai] and these young guys, giving them an opportunity to play and see what we have in them as we go through the course of this season. We have high hopes and high expectations for all those guys.
In terms of [CB] Tay [Gowan], he’s a guy we spent a lot of time with in the draft process. He was somebody that we would have considered with our sixth-round pick. He was in a group of names. He went right before we picked and he’s a long corner. He’s got tremendous speed.
He was an opt-out guy last year. We spent a lot of time with him personally before the draft. And again, it gives us a chance to add a young corner to that room.
Q. You had mentioned the value of TE Zach Ertz to the younger players on this roster. Eagles Head Coach Nick Sirianni said that guys like Ertz had made him a better coach. Now you’ve decided to move on from him six games into the season. What does it say about how your outlook for this year has changed? (Tim McManus)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: I don’t think it says anything about our outlook for the season. We’re still going and trying to win every game. Again, it was an opportunity. It was an opportunity for us as well as Zach. And we have a lot of confidence in the young players.
I think really when we look at it, we would have had a bigger regret if we didn’t bring Zach back and bring him here and have him around this team and see what it kind of looked like.
And so, I don’t think that we look at it like that at all. We have a lot of confidence.
We had two really good players at the position, and we knew moving forward that it was going to be hard for us to do that.
Q. With Zach’s importance to the organization and, obviously, you guys took your time making this deal, you had other opportunities. How much collaboration did you have with his representation and with Zach throughout this process before this deal was made, because seemed like Zach knew what was happening? (Mike Kaye)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: Really, a lot of communication with Zach and gave Zach really a heads-up about kind of this process on Tuesday. Spent a lot of time with Zach on Tuesday night talking to him and talking to him about his future and a lot of memories about the past, too.
And it was a hard night on Tuesday night having those conversations, but they were honest. They were good. Zach’s an Eagle for life. Zach’s family, that will never change. And just very appreciative of him and his contributions.
Q. Following up on Tim’s previous question. Obviously, we’ve spoken with you about the potential of trading Zach before, and you said you would have regretted not bringing him back this year. How does the compensation compare to what you could have had, say, in the spring and why do you feel so staunchly that you would have regretted not bringing him back? (Zach Berman)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: This was the right opportunity. This was the best opportunity for both us and Zach. And I think you’ve got to look at it really from our perspective and never going to be easy trading Zach Ertz. Not easy, not an easy day for any of us. But from our perspective, the opportunity to see [TE] Dallas [Goedert] and see Dallas in a larger role and obviously he’s a free agent.
And there’s no secret that that’s, obviously, something here going forward that we have to address. And so, getting him in a role where it’s not just sharing time and he’s the guy because in terms of our bargaining power, there’s going to be no discount on Dallas Goedert. So, we know that, so we want to get as much information and give him as much opportunity to take over that and see him in that role as much as possible, as opposed to guessing on it.
Then you talk about our young guys, and I think what changed a little for us was the surprise of camp, and it was just camp because we didn’t see it in the preseason games was Tyree [Jackson] and just seeing how he’s working to get back and the skills that he has in his body.
We want to make sure that we’re going into next year knowing as much as we could. If he’s going to look like he did during training camp, like, that’s going to be a player for us. But he’s got to show it in games. And this is an opportunity for him to come back and for us to see that. We don’t think that’s just a shot in the dark. We think this guy’s got some traits.
So, we want to see that, and Jack [Stoll] and Noah [Togiai] are two guys we’ve been high on. So, this isn’t like we think we’re bare at that position. And then we talk about, obviously, you get a fifth-round pick and we’ve had some success in the fifth round, and we get a corner that we thought would be a chance to be a player.
And then, obviously, there’s money involved, too, that could add to another player. So, I think that was our opportunity. Again, not downplaying a Hall of Fame player in terms of Zach Ertz, but that’s why we made the move.
Q. This was a long saga with Zach and I think it’s fair to say that the relationship between him and the team was strained at some points during it. Does he leave here on good terms? And was that important to you? (Dave Zangaro)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: This isn’t “Days of Our Lives,” my man. Zach is someone we have a very close relationship with. And that doesn’t mean, just like everybody in their personal lives, there aren’t ups and downs and there are moments you don’t see eye to eye. But this is a guy who is family to us.
This is a guy that – I don’t know how many other players since I’ve been here that you talk to two days before a game, and you talk about the opportunity and you kind of talk through it with them.
Zach will be a friend for life. We’ll be celebrating for life. This isn’t like an obituary here. I said when we left, we’re not saying goodbye. So, there’s no hard feelings at all.
It’s family with us and Zach. I personally, I drafted Zach Ertz. I signed him a couple times. And I still have a picture of us together with our family after we won the Super Bowl and his game ball when he set the single season tight end record. There’s no issues. None.
Q. I know it’s not an obituary, but if we could go back to the beginning of his career, Zach has talked about some of the struggles he had and sort of getting over those. From your vantage point, what was it like watching that and when did you realize that he was, I guess, as special as he turned out to be? (Bo Wulf)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: It’s funny, because I’ll never forget sitting in my office with about eight people as we were getting ready for the second round. And really deciding between two players that we now have on the roster in Zach and [CB Darius] Slay and Slay had just come off of a medical procedure.
And I remember even though we had [former Eagles TE Brent] Celek and [former Eagles TE James] Casey sitting there and saying, ‘This guy’s a ten-year player for us. This guy’s [former Ravens TE] Todd Heap, who obviously played at Stanford and Baltimore Ravens tight end. And it is an easy pick. It may not be the best move for us right now this year in terms of helping the team, but this guy’s going to help us for a long time.’ And I remember it like that was yesterday.
And we had a room. We had a talented room with Brent and James Casey, but we also had two incredible people in that room. James now a coach and, obviously, you guys know about Celek. And I think it was different for him to come in as a high second-round pick and not be the guy. He’s always had tremendous confidence in his ability to do that. And he continued to work as hard.
When I think about Zach, I think about last year when we came back from COVID and it was the first day the players were allowed and looking out my office window and him on the practice field running routes without a ball.
And his work ethic, his passion for this game, it was contagious. That was one of the things just talking to [Cardinals General Manager] Steve Keim, and asking me what he’s getting. You’re getting that. So, I think he always had that work ethic. He always had this desire, this sponge to pick up more and to learn more. And I’m hopeful that these young players that we’re high on and have high expectations for picked up from him like he picked up from all the players he was around.
Q. You have a couple more games here before the trade deadline. If things go south a little more, is that going to open up the possibility that you’ll be willing to sell more of your older players? (Jeff McLane)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: I don’t view us as being sellers. I view us as still having an opportunity in the next 11 games to show what kind of team we are.
And I think this was more about the opportunity to really put the pieces of the puzzle together for this team at that position and kind of moving forward. It’s not to give up on the season in any way, shape or form. I’m certainly not thinking about anything going south.
But we’re thinking about the opportunity we have in front of us, starting with Vegas next week. And I know that will be a huge travel game for our fans and after we get through this weekend, we’ll be excited for that opportunity.
Q. You talked about the discussions you had Tuesday night about the possibility of this. When did the trade get consummated? Was it after the game or did Zach go into last night’s game knowing that he was going to be traded? (Ed Kracz)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: I think just based on the relationship with Zach, I thought it was important that Zach was able to really go in last night with his eyes open and really enjoy each moment coming out there. He was a captain last night for that reason.
So, he knew, although we didn’t call back Arizona until this morning, he knew this was going to happen. And I think that’s what made it special. Dallas [Goedert] didn’t play last night, so he had an opportunity to play a little bit more than he’s been playing.
Catching the touchdown pass, that was special to do that. Obviously, you saw his emotion coming off the field. But I think just talking through it with Zach and understanding here you are and you get to experience this and embrace everything that comes with it, not many people get an opportunity to do that.
And so, I think we agreed that was special for him. Hard, obviously, keeping it from the rest of the team and it’s probably a unique situation where you go into a game. I think someone asked me, what happens if something happens to him during the game. I said, ‘That’s a chance we’re willing to take because it was special for him last night.’ It was special for him to come out on a nationally televised game, in front of our fans, as a captain, be introduced and I get chills just thinking about it.
Q. You alluded to the fact earlier about Zach’s impact on the younger tight ends. Do you think his impact was also just through his professionalism with the way he kind of went through everything that was going on since the offseason and how do you think that kind of impacted those younger guys seeing that? (Martin Frank)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: I wouldn’t limit it to the tight end group. Obviously, we’ve got a young group of skilled position guys and really a lot of young players on offense.
I think they see how he works every day, how he takes care of his body, how important it is to him. And so that’s a huge lesson and I think that’s worth its weight in gold for this team to have that.
And I know that Dallas and our tight ends are appreciative of it. But I also think our receivers, our backs, the players on our team – I spent some time this morning calling some players on our team to give them a heads-up and talk about it. This is a special guy. Special guy and proud to have had him here for as long as we did.
I know the future’s going to continue to be bright for him and his family.
Q. You had talked about getting the chance now to evaluate Dallas Goedert as a number one tight end here. Do you need a certain number of time or games before you feel comfortable? Because I know he’s talked already about you guys having contract discussions. So, do you need to see more before you can finalize those discussions? Or do you think you know what you have with him? (Geoff Mosher)
HOWIE ROSEMAN: I think we know what we have in Dallas Goedert. Obviously, when we talk about Zach and how good of a player he is and how great of a player, really, he’s been. To do this, you have to have a confidence level in the guys behind him.
And so, we have expectations of Dallas. That was kind of the conversation this morning about what we expect from him. We’ve seen it, but he’s never really had the opportunity to go out there and just be the guy and play 80 percent.
Zach mentioned to me he was playing 80 percent of the plays in the past couple of years. Like he wasn’t really splitting time. So, they both have been splitting time. And I’m not sure either of them was able to get into the rhythm that they need because the kind of players they are when they’re splitting time.
We have high expectations. This isn’t something, like, we have to see a certain number of things before we know.
I think we know in Dallas who he is, but at the same time, he’s got to take that, and he’s got to take that baton and run with it.