With Vance McDonald hampered by a shoulder injury, the Pittsburgh Steelers are reaching out for reinforcements at the tight end position.
Pittsburgh is acquiring tight end Nick Vannett from the Seattle Seahawks, NFL Network's Mike Garafolo and Tom Pelissero reported Tuesday evening. ESPN first reported the news. Pelissero added that the Steelers are sending a 2020 fifth-round pick to Seattle in exchange for Vannett.
This is the third 2020 draft pick Pittsburgh has traded away in the last eight days; the Steelers sent a first-round pick and a fifth-round pick in next year's draft to the Miami Dolphins last week in exchange for Minkah Fitzpatrick and change.
A fourth-year player in the final season of his rookie deal, Vannett has caught four passes on five targets for 38 yards in three games this season. He led all Seahawks tight ends in receiving yards and receptions last season, but with the return of Will Dissly from injury, Vannett became expendable in the Emerald City.
He should have a role in Pittsburgh, who lost Jesse James in free agency this offseason and, aside from McDonald, boast Xavier Grimble and Zach Gentry in their tight end room.
McDonald and Grimble have combined for 11 catches on 16 targets for 91 yards and two touchdowns in Pittsburgh's three season-opening losses. After playing just 15 snaps against the San Francisco 49ers in Week 3, McDonald was seen in a shoulder sling at Tuesday's practice. NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported that McDonald is battling a shoulder sprain but won't be out for an extended period of time.