49ers Trade Tight End Vance McDonald to Steelers

The San Francisco 49ers have traded tight end Vance McDonald to the Pittsburgh Steelers. The player was traded to Pittsburgh along with a fifth round draft pick. In exchange, San Francisco recieves a fourth round pick from Pittsburgh. This is actually not the first time that the team has attempted to deal the player. The first attempt to trade McDonald came back in April during the draft. Reportedly, the team was on the brink of trading him, but talks eventually fell through.

McDonald was a second round pick for the team four years ago during the 2013 draft to much acclaim. The head coach at the time, Jim Harbaugh, compared him to legendary tight end and coach Mike Ditka when he was first drafted to the team. He even went so far as to give the player the same player Ditka wore during his playing career, number 89. Unfortunately, those predictions never came to fruition and he has not become the player the club had hope he would be.

McDonald has recorded just 86 catches during his tenure with the club. Those catches have led to just under 900 yards and seven touchdowns. These would be great numbers for a player in a single season, but are not as great when spread over a four-year career. It is also importnat tno note that McDonald has missed 16 games during his NFL career.

Despite his poor output, the club did give him a five-year extension on his contract near the end of last season. The total value of the contract is $35 million, the highest allowed under league rules. This somewhat surprised those that follow the team and thought they would cut ties with the player. Trading him opens up a spot at the starting tight end position and also frees up 4 million dollars in cap space for the team.

This recent move lends credence to theory that the team has a high opinion of their rookie tight end, Greg Kittle. The team took the Iowa prospect in the fifth round of this years draft. It could also mean that they are going to expand the role of their pass-catching fullbck, Kyle Juszczyk. The 49ers also have two other tight ends currently listed on the roster, Logan Paulsen and Garret Celek. Both of them are considered to be blocking tight ends. This is just another step in the current roster rejuvenation San Francisco is going through. So far, they have dealth five starters from the 2016 team.


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