Eagles new deals for Ertz, Celek indicative of offensive scheme

The Eagles spent the beginning of this week taking care of their tight ends.

Zach Ertz, who was second on the team in receptions and receiving yards in 2015, solidified his place on the team by signing a five-year extension worth $42.5 million on Monday. Brent Celek, who turned 31 on Monday, got his new deal — a three-year, $13 million restructured contract — on Tuesday.

Together, the two tight ends and their newfound job security with Doug Pederson at the helm give signs of the kind of offense the Eagles can expect to use in the 2016 season and beyond.

Pederson worked under Andy Reid, but while his time in Philadelphia would not be indicative of the scheme, look no further than the Chiefs offense to find at least an idea of how the offense could look.

The Chiefs offense ran through Pro Bowl tight end Travis Kelce, brother of Eagles center Jason Kelce. Kelce had 72 catches and 875 yards — second on the team in both categories — with five touchdowns in the 2015 season. Kelce led the Chiefs in 2014 with 67 catches for 862 yards and five touchdowns.

With Pederson set to make his coaching debut, there is a reason to believe that the Eagles will employ a similar style and run a lot through the tight ends. Ertz had four receiving touchdowns in his rookie season in 2013, also Chip Kelly's first with the team, and likely would have set career highs in all categories if not for offseason hernia surgery that hindered his performance early in the season.

Celek, similarly, broke into the NFL as a receiving tight end. In his six seasons under Reid, Celek had 280 receptions for 3,473 yards and 20 touchdowns, an average of 46.7 catches, 578.8 yards and 3.3 touchdowns per season. That included a stellar 2009 season where Celek caught 76 passes for 971 yards and eight touchdowns, all career highs. In the three years under Kelly that Celek also played with Ertz, he had 91 catches for 1,240 yards and 10 touchdowns, averaging 30.3 catches, 413.3 yards and 3.3 touchdowns per season. 

While Celek has reformed his game to become a strong blocking tight end, with Ertz manning more of the receiving duties, Celek could certainly get some opportunities in the receiving game as he did with Chip Kelly's offense in the early going.

But with Celek's contract now less prominent and Ertz becoming a face of the franchise, the offense may go right through Ertz, just as the Chiefs put the spotlight on Kelce.

It has been a mantra surrounded Ertz. When is the tight end going to have that breakout season? So many believed 2015 was his make-or-break year.

Ertz may have made it with his final four games, all stellar performances that saw the tight end nearly double his season totals. Ertz's final two games in particular were the standouts.

Despite not factoring into the scoring plays, Ertz had 22 catches for 274 yards in the final two games of the season. 

Now picture this: a Doug Pederson offense with hints of what Andy Reid brought in to Kansas City and how he utilized Travis Kelce giving Ertz the same kind of workload. If nothing else, those final two games showed that Ertz could certainly handle the amount of attention that could come in that scheme and the kind of numbers he could produce if he is featured prominently.

Celek, who was still under contract for the 2016 season, would have been around for just one more season before it was decision time anyway. Pederson was familiar with Celek already. So was Howie Roseman. So was Jeffrey Lurie. The brain trust went the safe way there in trying to keep a piece that all were familiar with around for Pederson's first years at the helm. 

So while Ertz will get a chunk of the attention in the receiving game, don't overlook Celek's role in all of this as well. He'll still primarily be a blocker and will fuel more of what goes into the special teams game and running game on offense, but, like Ertz, Celek represents essentially the one thing that is stable with the Eagles.

The Eagles are grooming two young wide receivers to become potential star players in the league. They have three running backs that, at least last season, they couldn't completely utilize all at the same time. The quarterback remains the biggest question. The offensive line needs a ton of retooling. 

But the tight ends are solid and the Eagles will certainly be looking to use this piece quite a bit with a coach who is known for featuring them in his scheme.

Kevin Durso is managing editor for Eagledelphia. Follow him on Twitter @Kevin_Durso.

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