Powerful Steelers offense adds tight end Vance McDonald in trade with 49ers

Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Tight end Vance McDonald, the subject of draft-night trade speculation in April, finally got traded from the 49ers two weeks before their season opener.

The move allows the Steelers to upgrade at tight end. A second-round draft pick of San Francisco in 2013, McDonald was signed to a five-year contract extension worth $35 million in the offseason. Pittsburgh released Ladarius Green in March, leaving a group that includes Jesse James, Xavier Grimble and David Johnson.

McDonald was expected to start for the 49ers, but they have depth at the position behind him. He had 64 catches for 866 yards in four seasons, though he did have some moments of promise.

The 49ers will move forward with rookie George Kittle, Logan Paulson, Garrett Celek, and Blake Bell at tight end.

In 2016, he had 24 catches for 391 yards and four touchdowns in 11 games. The 49ers' new regime of general manager John Lynch and coach Kyle Shanahan immediately wanted to get rid of McDonald.

He signed a three-year, $19.7 million contract extension with San Francisco in December. "Although I have only known Vance for a short time, I quickly learned that he and his wife, Kendi, have been tremendous representatives for the team in the community and their service to others is quite commendable". Unless something drastic happens, expect James and McDonald to compete for the starting spot and share playing time for most of the season.

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