The Pittsburgh Steelers have added depth to their tight end position.
On Tuesday night, Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that the Steelers have traded a 2020 fifth round pick to the Seattle Seahawks in exchange for tight end Nick Vannett, a four-year veteran who caught a 13-yard pass against the Steelers during Seattle’s Week 2 victory in Pittsburgh.
Dulac added that, per sources, the Steelers did not trade for Vannett due to starting tight end Vance McDonald’s recent shoulder injury. Pittsburgh instead traded for Vannett — who is entering the final year of his rookie contract — to help bolster the team’s depth at the tight end position.
A third round pick in the 2016 draft out of Ohio State, the 6-foot-3, 261-pound Vannett has played in 42 NFL regular-season games, netting 16 career starts. He has 46 career receptions for 463 yards and four scores. Vannett caught four of five targets for 38 yards in his three games for Seattle this season. He was passed up on the Seahawks’ depth chart by Will Dissly, a second round pick in the 2018 draft who has three touchdowns in Seattle’s past two games.
Pittsburgh’s current tight end depth chart includes McDonald and backups Xavier Grimble and rookie fifth round pick, Zach Gentry. Grimble has caught just on pass this season, while Gentry has yet to record a reception. Jesse James, Pittsburgh’s No. 2 tight end each of the previous two seasons, signed with the Detroit Lions during free agency.
While he has proven to be a productive player since coming to Pittsburgh via a trade with San Francisco in 2017, McDonald has missed seven games due to injuries during his time with the Steelers. He was sorely missed after leaving Pittsburgh’s Week 3 loss to San Francisco, as Mason Rudolph — making his first career start — threw for just 174 yards in the Steelers 24-20 loss. Rudolph threw a pair of touchdown passes to McDonald in Pittsburgh’s Week 2 loss to Seattle.
Expect Vannett to be in uniform when Pittsburgh hosts the 0-3 Cincinnati Bengals next week on “Monday Night Football”.