Vance McDonald’s Future with the Pittsburgh Steelers

Photo via USA Today

By Matt Papiernik, @Matt_Papiernik on Twitter


In case you didn’t see my previous article, I am going to be publishing several articles breaking down the contracts, performance, and likelihood that certain players will be members of the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2020. Now that the off-season is in full view of the team, there are going to be several roster decisions that will need to be made, as the Steelers are pressed up against the salary cap yet again. Continuing on with this series of articles, next up to focus on is Vance McDonald.


Vance McDonald, TE, 2 Seasons with the Steelers



5 Years for $32.5 Million, $6 Million Guaranteed, traded for before 2017 season from the San Francisco 49ers.

If released, would save $5.67 Million in 2020 and result in $1.46 Million in Dead Money.


2019 Performance

To start the 2020 campaign, McDonald started off with where he left off in 2019, he best statistical season to date. He started the season making a couple splash plays against the New England Patriots, as well as catching two touchdowns against the Seattle Seahawks. However, from that point on, he failed to live up to expectations. While some of the blame for the lack of production can’t be put on him (Ben Roethlisberger going down was a huge factor), he also struggled to make impact plays when given the opportunity with the ball in his hands. McDonald only registered one broken tackle on his 38 receptions in 2019, that is down from 10 on 50 receptions in the year prior. In addition to having his production decrease, he missed two more games in 2019, making it 5 out of 7 seasons he has missed at least two games in his career. I know some people really like McDonald and can fall in love with his intense stiff arms. But the reality is, the Steelers need someone who is more reliable in terms of availability, especially with a price tag of $7.13 million.


2020 Roster Likelihood: 15% Chance


Final Thoughts: Vance McDonald has the potential to be a dynamic receiving threat when given an opportunity. However, there are three things going against him. Those are a lack of explosive plays in 2019, the inability to play all 16 games, and a relatively high price tag for a tight end. Unless McDonald agrees to take a pay cut, it is hard to envision him as a member of the 2020 Pittsburgh Steelers.


Let us know what you think Vance McDonald’s future with the Pittsburgh Steelers is below!



  1. Lanny seed

    January 8, 2020 at 2:41 pm

    He doesn’t stay with the play blocking downfield. Has a disinterest in the game staring at the play and not getting involved and only makes catch when wide open.
    Time to release him.

    • Doug McCanch

      January 10, 2020 at 5:07 pm

      I agree I think he is too concerned with making a big play for himself rather than committing to the block. I think the Steelers should re-sign Vannett and have Vannett, Gentry, and Grimble as our TE’s. Vannett played decent given the time he had so I think with a full training camp and OTA’s he will be a big contributor. This was Gentry’s first season and we know when he was drafted that he was a project that needed to be developed. Hopefully he is ready by the start of the season.

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