Vance McDonald, Pick Traded to Pittsburgh Steelers for 4th-Round Pick

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistAugust 29, 2017

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - NOVEMBER 27: Vance McDonald #89 of the San Francisco 49ers stands on the sideline prior to the game against the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium on November 27, 2016 in Miami Gardens, Florida. The Dolphins defeated the 49ers 31-24. (Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images)
Michael Zagaris/Getty Images

About nine months after signing Vance McDonald to a contract extension, the San Francisco 49ers announced Tuesday they have traded the tight end to the Pittsburgh Steelers.     

Per ESPN's Adam Schefter, the Steelers will receive McDonald and a fifth-round draft pick from the 49ers in exchange for a fourth-round draft pick. 

McDonald, 27, played in 11 games for the Niners in 2016, catching 24 passes for 391 yards and four touchdowns. On a team devoid of weapons last year, he finished first in touchdown receptions and third in receiving yards.

But once the Niners hired Kyle Shanahan as their head coach and John Lynch as general manager, the roster went under the microscope. The 49ers drafted tight end George Kittle out of Iowa in the fifth round of the 2017 NFL draft and have Logan Paulsen, Garrett Celek and Blake Bell on the roster, so depth at tight end isn't an issue. 

While the final two years of McDonald's contract were club options, the Niners would have owed him base salaries of $3.7 million in 2018 and $4.2 million in 2019 after former general manager Trent Baalke signed him to the extension.

And in April, Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee speculated that McDonald "may not fit the tough-guy persona the 49ers are trying to instill this year." Add it up, and his departure isn't surprising.

The Steelers get a solid veteran tight end added to their already-dynamic offense that features playmakers such as Antonio Brown and Martavis Bryant at wide receiver and running back Le'Veon Bell. They didn't have to pay a steep price to make the deal happen.       

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