By Martha Sullivan

The Eagles aren’t wasting any time solidifying ties with the players they think are vital to their success in 2016 and beyond.

With a new head coach and a reorganization of roles within the front office, the Birds extended the contract of tight end Zach Ertz by five years beyond his current deal and locking him up through 2021.

The 25-year-old is coming off a 2015 season in which he finished sixth amongst all players at his position in receptions (75) and seventh in receiving yards (853) with a pair of touchdowns. Those first two numbers were good for second on the team behind wideout Jordan Matthews and ranked third all-time among Eagles tight ends.

Ertz improved dramatically as the season progressed. More than half his yards and nearly half his receptions came over the final four weeks of the season, with the 6-5 pass-catcher hauling in 35 balls for 450 yards, leading all NFL tight ends during that stretch and trailing only perennial Pro Bowl receivers Antonio Brown and Julio Jones. In the team’s season finale against the Giants, he caught nine passes for a career-high 152 yards, and the week before that he notched 13 catches for 122 yards.

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