What could Zach Ertz bring to the Commanders in 2024?

The Commanders have a new pass-catching tight end.
Zach Ertz
Zach Ertz / Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

What could Zach Ertz bring to the Washington Commanders in 2024 after the veteran tight end signed a one-year deal?

After the Washington Commanders parted ways with Logan Thomas, they were in desperate need of a pass-catching tight end capable of replacing and upgrading his production. It hasn't taken long for the new regime to act with the addition of veteran Zach Ertz.

According to Tom Pelissero from the NFL Network, Ertz has signed a one-year deal that could be worth up to $5 million if he reaches incentives. This also reunites the three-time Pro Bowler with Kliff Kingsbury after the pair developed a working relationship during their time together at the Arizona Cardinals.

Some injury worries cannot be overlooked, but Ertz has the scope to be a significant asset over short-to-intermediate routes. He might not be the dynamic force of old, but Kingsbury utilized him heavily in Arizona and knows how to best use his skill set at this relatively late stage of the player's career.

Commanders can rely on Zach Ertz's dependability

This looks like a ready-made replacement for Thomas in the short term. Ertz is fully aware of Kingsbury's demands, which should make his integration into different surroundings go smoothly. He's also no stranger to the NFC East having spent 8.5 seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles, where he was a constant thorn in Washington's side.

Zach Ertz can become a dependable target for the Commanders' new quarterback.
Zach Ertz / Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

While asking Ertz to be the explosive flex/outside presence is a stretch, there's nothing to suggest he cannot be a reliable presence across the middle in key situations. The former second-round pick out of Stanford is adept at finding soft spots in opposing coverages. He also knows how to exploit specific matchups through sharp route-running and body manipulation.

The Commanders have two young tight ends - Armani Rogers and Cole Turner - if Ertz is forced out through injury at any stage. That said, he should be relatively fresh after appearing in just seven games last season. He's also got the scope to become a quarterback's best friend in no time at all.

This bears special significance for the Commanders. If they select a promising signal-caller from the college ranks at No. 2 overall in the 2024 NFL Draft as many expect, their rookie is going to need a dependable security blanket to ease their transition. Ertz seems tailor-made for that and comes at a decent cost.

One couldn't rule out the Commanders taking another tight end during the draft, but signing Ertz this early in the process gives those in power a little extra freedom. Expecting him to generate the seven targets per game previously enjoyed under Kingsbury might not be realistic, but the veteran could be a nice complimentary piece capable of putting up solid numbers.

Ertz is no spring chicken at 33 years old, but there's no substitute for experience. His shrewd knowledge of defensive coverage schemes and assured hands make him an intriguing addition to Washington's new-look offense. Looking at the resources available and the holes to fill, he'll be the first of many new arrivals in the coming weeks.

Tempering expectations initially would be prudent. There's just no telling if Ertz has fallen off the proverbial cliff and father time waits for no man. But if Kingsbury and others in positions of influence feel like he's still got something to offer, there needs to be a level of confidence attached.

After all, this is not the same shoddy operation of years past.