Steelers acquire TE Vance McDonald in trade with 49ers

1:18 PM ET

  • CloseESPN Staff Writer
    • ESPN staff writer
    • Previously a college football reporter for
    • University of Florida graduate
  • CloseESPN Staff Writer
    • Covered Rams for nine years for
    • Previously covered University of Missouri football
    • Member of Pro Football Writers of America

The San Francisco 49ers have traded tight end Vance McDonald and a fifth-round pick in next year’s draft to the Pittsburgh Steelers in exchange for a fourth-round pick, the teams announced Tuesday.

McDonald, who signed a three-year, $19.7 million contract extension with the Niners in December, had career highs in receiving yards (391), yards per reception (16.29) and touchdowns (four) in 11 games last season before suffering a shoulder injury.

The acquisition reinforces the Steelers’ need for playmaking at tight end since Heath Miller retired in 2016. Last year’s experiment with Ladarius Green didn’t pan out. Jesse James and Xavier Grimble, despite showing flashes, were inconsistent catching passes in training camp.

Ben Roethlisberger likes to target tight ends in scoring range, particularly on back-shoulder

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