49ers trade TE Vance McDonald to Steelers

Former 49ers tight end Vance McDonald runs with the ball

The San Francisco 49ers have traded tight end Vance McDonald and a fifth-round pick to the Pittsburgh Steelers in return for a fourth-round pick, according to Adam Schefter.

Here’s a statement from G.M. John Lynch: “We would like to thank Vance for his contributions to this organization on the field and in the community over the last four seasons. 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. We wish the McDonald family all the best as they move on to a new opportunity in Pittsburgh.”

The 49ers had been playing McDonald with the starters and praising him for his blocking throughout the preseason. I never believed the hype. I believed the 49ers were showcasing McDonald for a trade, and clearly they were.

Rookie tight end George Kittle is in line to replace Vance McDonald as the starting tight end. Expect Kittle to catch more than 50 passes this season.

This article has 83 Comments

  1. Unloaded a bad contract and an average player, good move. Now they need to make a great move and trade for Joe Haden.

    1. No! He is making 11 mil a year the next couple years and he is a shell of himself. Stay away from Hayden. This season means nothing. Just evaluating the players we have.

      1. Agreed. Ever since he got that big payday his play hasn’t been up to par, plus he’s already had two groin injuries.

      2. He’s worth giving a shot, he’s a safer bet then whatever player we select with the draft pick traded to acquire him. Bottom line is, we have plenty of cap space, plenty. He’s better by a lot then any of the players we have currently at the position and he’s that way right now versus waiting until next Spring to draft a rookie that would still likely need to be developed who hopefully turns out to be any good. Do we really want to use a top pick on a cornerback next draft? Why would we when we could just acquire a pro bowl caliber player now.

              1. So is this one of those days where PFF’s grades are considered legitimate? Hard to keep track.

              2. Not saying it’s gospel, but it’s a tool or a point of reference. At $11 million, the groin issues, I just don’t think he’d be worth the risk. I think it’s let the young guys play, and sink or swim back there. Mostly sink;>)

              3. Get him out of the factory of sadness and you’ll see the pro bowl player again.

            1. IMO, Haden would be a poor investment and a risky bet. He’s already had serious injuries and cannot be counted on to stay healthy. Don’t throw good money after bad. We need to be patient and evaluate all other options, add a player from the upcoming cuts or simply bide our time until next FA period to score a top caliber CB. It’s not all going to come together in one or two seasons.

              1. With their lack of tackling, Robinson and Witherspoon aren’t good fits either.

                BTW, I saw you got Kittle on your team. What round?

        1. Dude, Haden isn’t that good anymore. You want to make a player on the downside of his career the highest paid player on the team (even more than our QB)? That doesn’t sound very smart.

          I’m not sure if you’re just attracted by the big name or not. But he’s not that good anymore FYI. I wouldn’t want him for $7M a year, let a lone $11M. No thanks

          1. He’s 28 years old and playing for a horrible team with terrible coaches and owners. Easy to take the money as your motivation at that point. He has the ability to be a pro bowl player. Move him to a new location on a fresh re-energized team and you’ll likely see that player again. If not so what, the biggest cost is whatever draft pick they surrender. His salary is nothing. It wouldn’t even make the slightest dent in our cap space and not only that but he can be easily cut starting in 2018 without a cap hit so his salary is not relevant in the discussion. It all comes down to what the trade compensation is. A conditional pick based on playing time would be appropriate. If he ends up being our starter for 13 or more games he’s clearly earned that spot and if so what is he worth in draft trade value? What’s a starting corner back worth in the draft?

          2. “The 49ers entered the day with $68.7 million in 2017 cap space, and now have just over $71 million in cap space.”

            1. Best time to take a chance on a player like Haden.

              Hope they get him……cuz our corners are average at best.

  2. Stone cold hands, I thought I knew you so well. Good luck on your next adventure, and you’ve got a real shot at a ring.

    1. Another issue with Vance is that I’m not convinced he was all that smart, and one thing I remembered about the Wash/Seifert regimes is that they didn’t hang with that. I wish Vance he best and think he might do quite well on a good team like Pittsburgh where the system fits him as well.

  3. I’m surprised steelers were able to take on that contract… good move by Lynch. More draft capital to trade up for a QB next year

  4. Eight months after agreeing on a Baalke contract, Baake signs McDonald to Another ?

    TomD’s Take: McDonald gained 391 passing yds so Baalke decides to give him 7 mil per…..UgHHHH.
    Can’t figure out which contract was worse, this one or Torrey Smith’s , because the 49ers ultimately signed Smith to stand around since they never passed to him.

    Breaking down Torrey Smith’s five-year, $40 million 49ers contract.

    “Former Ravens wide receiver Torrey Smith cashed in with the San Francisco 49ers on a five-year, $40 million contract that included $22 million in guaranteed money.”

    “The one thing that is surprising is the dollar figure on the contract. McDonald’s deal gives him $35 million over 5 years — an average of $7 million a year. The 49ers have tremendous cap space, so they can afford to pay this. But despite his improvement, McDonald does not, on the surface, appear worthy of such a payout.”

    1. Props to Grant, those Kittle camp stories were spot on, and the Niners have $ 7 million more dollars to spend for the next 5 years because of it…..Intelligent FO.

  5. Bet he thrives with the Steelers. For all the drops he had early in his career, he had improved in that area and has become a very good blocker as well. Not worth the money he re-signed for based on how he was used here, but Steelers will get him more involved in the passing game in that system.

    1. We’ll have to see if getting him more involved in the passing game really is a good thing or not. Not so sure myself.

      1. No you’re right he could fail miserably in an increased role. Just speculating based on his improvements in drops over the past year and his athleticism in regards to how he could work out for them. He also improves their blocking at the position. For how little they had to give up, it’s a good move for the Steelers imo and could pay off big. For the Niners it’s all about getting out from under the contract and moving forward with Kittle.

      2. what was up with some stats posted here a few weeks back regarding 2015 season increase of passing YPC when McD was in the lineup vs. dropoff when not on field– Gabbert’s games in 2015 that is.

    2. I think he may do well up there. Part of his problem was who was throwing. This was also true for many of our receivers.

  6. Extending McDonald’s contract was Baalke’s parting middle finger to the 49ers. Good to see Lynch dump that contract, McDonald was/is a mediocre TE. Who’s next on the trading block, Hyde? We could use a decent DB.

  7. 2018 SF 49er Draft Status (includes McDonald trade for 4th Rounder)

    1 1st Rd. pick (own)
    2. 2nd Rd. pick (own)
    3. 2nd Rd. pick (NO Saints)
    4.3rd Rd. pick (own)
    5. 3rd Rd. pick (Bears)
    6. 4th Rd. pick (own)
    7. 4th Rd. pick (Steelers–via McDonald)

    8. 6th Rd. pick (own)
    9. 7th Rd. pick (own)
    10. 7th Rd. pick (still in play for Kenneth Acker trade to Chiefs)

  8. No sugarcoating the Blake Bell botch: It’s a setback….And stay gone Trent, we won’t miss ya !

    Looking forward to this scenario: 3rd down, December at New England: Weather: 28 degrees, 4th & 10, 4th Qtr, 2:00 remaining:

    Rothlisberger drops back, sizzles one of his rocket ball to Vance McDonald streaking over the middle, and …………………….T-H-W-A-C-K, Ball bounces off McDonald’s hand. (Couldn’t catch in warm weather imagine the disaster in cold weather .

  9. Jason La Canfora ✔ @JasonLaCanfora
    Definitely getting the sense from other teams the 49ers are still open to move another TE in the right deal. Celek a possibility
    10:19 AM – Aug 29, 2017

  10. # 80,

    How about Baalke’s offensive judgement:

    “Only 8 of 37 offensive players drafted under Baalke from 2010-2015 remain on the roster, and the only perceived locks to make this season’s roster are running back Carlos Hyde, center Daniel Kilgore and right tackle Trent Brown”….SJMerc.

    1. The Vance McDonald extension in ’16 was real head-scratcher. By trading him, #49ers eat $5.6M in cap space now. SF has most cap room in NFL.
      9:15 AM – 29 Aug 2017

      1. Dan Fouts: ‘It’s embarrassing’ Chargers play in a 27,000-seat soccer stadium
        The Chargers legend isn’t impressed with the team’s current stadium situation…. 4h ago •

        The Los Angeles Chargers’ new home is Carson, Calif., which is roughly 15 miles south of L.A. and home to Major League Soccer’s Los Angeles Galaxy. We mention this because the Galaxy’s stadium — the 27,000-seat StubHub Center — will also serve as the Chargers’ home field for 2017 and 2018.

        Downside: The Chargers’ preseason opener drew 21,054 fans. By comparison, the bottom-of-the-table Galaxy had 25,667 fans show up for their previous night’s match.


        1. For the Chargers, it’ll be like playing in the mid 60s. No US Bank-like stadium for them (at the moment).

          1. Quaint enviroment for Seb, son and daughter to patch up differences over the Chainsaw weed fire and the daughter who encountered Seb’s hideous pot business connections

          2. The Chargers need to get back to San Diego and work something out there. That team will always be the
            San Diego Chargers to me. Qualcom is certainly better than a lot of present day NFL stadiums and it’s San Diego. The Chargers playing second fiddle to the Rams in LA is a real head scratcher to me. I know, it’s all about the money…

  11. Clank McDonald didn’t pass the eyeball test with the new regime. Letting that ball go through his hands last week just reaffirmed what they suspected all along. Vance had a “skillet” set like no other tight end in the league, he dropped twice as many as the average T.E. according to Niners Nation.

  12. You’ve been calling this one for quite some time. Not surprised by the 49ers moving him. I am surprised a team took on his salary.

  13. Whether it was a good move or a bad move will prove out later. Right now, for him, it is a good move. He is away from all the negative talk by the fans. His good traits are downplayed and his faults are exaggerated. I wish him a lot of luck with the Steelers and hope that he does get a ring. From what I understand and have read, he worked his a$$ off and that is all that you can ask of someone. He was picked to do a job in the power run game of TB &JH and that came to an end a couple of years ago. So give him a break and wish him luck.

  14. Just completed a fantasy draft in another NFL managed league:

    Stafford QB
    Howard RB
    Cook RB
    Amari Cooper WR
    Hogan WR
    Kittle TE
    McCaffrey W/R
    Sturgis K
    Giants D

    Cousins QB
    Elliott RB
    Kamara RB
    Keenan Allen WR
    Garcon WR
    Parker WR

    1. nice job Razor……. I am targeting Cooper in the 2nd and Hyde in the 3rd…….. Kittle late, like maybe 8-9th round in a 13 team league. Hogan is sneaky, but not sure if he captures all of Edelman’s touches…. wow, Mc Caffrety too. Cook is a ? to me, similar to Mixon.
      I traded my first round pick for a 3rd and a 6th this year not being that impressed with the value at the top.

      1. Thanks. I have a feeling our Fantasy draft and the blog drafters will be a little more astute, and I probably won’t get as good a haul….

  15. Update on 2018 picks courtesy of Maiocco

    1st: Own pick
    2nd: Own & Saints picks
    3rd: Own & Bears picks
    4th: Steelers pick
    6th: Own pick
    7th: Own & Chiefs picks

    This adds an additional rooting interest. Any predictions on the Saints, Bears, Steelers draft slots?

      1. Cassie – Good breakdown. I’m thinking the same, though I’d put Saints mid 20s.

        I still have reservations about trading 67 for Saints 2018 2nd. (Yes, I get the trade up ammo for a QB idea).

        I’m not convinced the talent at 2018 pick 57 will be as good as 2017 pick 67. 2017 was deep, and the NFL is emphasizing discouraging underclassmen from declaring in 2018.

        I wanted Derek Rivers at 67. Shanahan was targeting Tarell Basham. But who really knows. The Saints 2nd rounder could have really good talent.

  16. I guess, for me at this point, what will prove interesting is to consider what the coaching staff believes is expendable on the 53 if someone they covet comes along, and at one positions do they primarily focus on. Guard is obvious, but I wonder about Center, Corner, WR, LT (depth)….. or do they want to roll with the young depth they have.

  17. by the end of the year we are going to wish we had McDonald.to many unproven guys who have already been injured.id almost put money on Kittle reagrevating his hammy by week 5 then we are left with Paulsen,celek,come on please.

    1. I liked McDonald, but at $7mil/yr, and Kittle and Hikutini there, I am happy w the move. Celek next ………

  18. How about moving Jimmy Ward back to CB since it’s such a weak spot? Jerome or Adrian Colbert might be able to hold down FS in the interim. As far as Carlos Hyde it looks like he needs to be used similar to Roger Craig who also ran high. Hyde seems effective catching the ball. I’m enjoying this offense for once and how they can spread the ball around. Shanahan is getting rid of all the guys with bad hands that kill drives. We might surprise some teams. I wasn’t high on Solomon Thomas because he isn’t much better if at all any better than the defensive linemen we have for such a high pick when we needed an edge rusher or a CB.

      1. I agree Grant. But according to you and some of the other writers, Bow has been taken out of obvious passing situations since OTAs. The only new development is that Tartt looks good and may get more reps than Ray Ray.

          1. Pop Tartt is made by Kellogg, but he needs to play that Hybrid S/LB role for Saleh. I think he’s the frosted brown sugar and cinnamon flavor….

      2. I was kidding. He’s not going to announce when a player is on the field because it gives all his formations away. He’s also not going to publicly call out a player.

  19. I believe Grant proposed this weeks ago.. It was a good move by the Niners. The question is will they start Vet, Logan Paulsen or George Kittle? And will they keep Celek or Bell? Hikutini to the P squad..

  20. so we got Paulsen, kittle and celek and a guy who was injured before draft and y’all think this is good,for all the hype about Kittles blocking why is it I always see him getting blown off the ball or missing blocks,then Paulsen really who’s he gonna scare as a weapon then celek or hikutini seriously what happens if Paulsen goes down your left with 2 rookies and celek. for all the complaining about injuries to Mcdonald,Celek has been injured just as much.

  21. I also think most of these cuts come down to Kyle doesn’t like the skills, or the fit. The things Kyle is looking for seem to be VERY specific. I really believe that if Kyle liked Vance (or others), They’d still be in the Red and Gold, cap or no cap.

  22. Stating the obvious of course, It’s just been a while since we had a coach who was so specific about what he is looking for, and Vance didn’t have it. He might be fantastic at the Steelers?

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