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

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The Steelers traded for tight end <a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/nfl/players/26678/" data-ylk="slk:Vance McDonald">Vance McDonald</a>. (AP)
The Steelers traded for tight end Vance McDonald. (AP)

The Pittsburgh Steelers might have the most talented offense in the NFL, but that didn’t stop them from adding to it on Tuesday.

The Steelers traded for San Francisco 49ers tight end Vance McDonald in a low-cost acquisition. Pittsburgh gave up a 2018 fourth-round pick for McDonald and a 2018 fifth-round pick.

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The Steelers offense is full of stars but didn’t have a dangerous tight end. Maybe McDonald can be that player. McDonald was a second-round pick by the 49ers in 2013 but never developed with them. He had 64 catches for 866 yards in four seasons, though he did have some moments of promise. The 49ers’ old regime gave McDonald a three-year, $19.65 million extension that took McDonald’s deal through 2021. The 49ers’ new regime of general manager John Lynch and coach Kyle Shanahan immediately wanted to get rid of McDonald.

The Steelers tried getting a dangerous tight end when they signed Ladarius Green, but he couldn’t get healthy and Pittsburgh cut him. Jesse James was an adequate replacement, but the Steelers are clearly looking for more at the tight end position.

Perhaps McDonald can break out in a better offense. With Antonio Bryant, Martavis Bryant and Le’Veon Bell catching passes from Ben Roethlisberger, McDonald will never get any extra defensive attention. Perhaps a potentially special offense got even better, and it didn’t cost much.

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Frank Schwab is the editor of Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at shutdown.corner@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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