The Pittsburgh Steelers are planning on keeping tight end Vance McDonald, according to Dale Lolley of DK Pittsburgh Sports.
McDonald has a $5.5 million option for 2020, which the Steelers intend to exercise. While there are certainly better tight end options in free agency, Lolley notes that Pittsburgh feels it would get the best bang for its buck by holding on to McDonald.
The 29-year-old is coming off of a 2019 campaign in which he played 14 games and caught 38 passes for 273 yards and three touchdowns in what was a disappointing season for the veteran.
McDonald, who played his collegiate football at Rice University, was originally selected by the San Francisco 49ers in the second round (55th pick overall) of the 2013 NFL Draft.
He appeared in 15 contests during his rookie year, but made minimal impact, logging just eight catches for 119 yards. McDonald then participated in just eight games in 2014 before finally becoming a more significant part of the offense in 2015, when he finished with 30 grabs for 326 yards and three scores.
The Winnie, Tx. native spent the first four years of his career with the 49ers, but never quite lived up to expectations. San Francisco ended up trading McDonald to the Steelers in August 2017.
He played in 10 games in his first year with Pittsburgh, managing just 14 catches for 188 yards and a touchdown, but in 2018, McDonald had a breakout campaign, hauling in 50 receptions for 610 yards while reaching the end zone four times.
The Steelers dealt with a rash of injuries in 2019 and went just 8-8, missing the playoffs.