Sakamoto: 49ers trade TE Vance McDonald and 5th round pick to Steelers


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GM John Lynch wants ‘his guys’

It’s becoming clear. The San Francisco 49ers new regime wants their hand selected players. As a result, the team traded away 2013 second-round pick (No. 55) TE Vance McDonald to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Former 49ers GM Trent Baalke drafted McDonald hoping he would solidify depth at the tight-end position. 

That never came to fruition. 

What exactly did Baalke see in McDonald coming out of Rice University? Versatility. In college, McDonald was aligned in multiple positions at the line of scrimmage. At 6-4, 267, McDonald was a good inline blocker. A skill-set required for the power run scheme. But aside from his blocking ability, McDonald also thrived in the passing game mainly playing the slot. 

Baalke needed to find new ‘Swiss-Army Knife’ 

Baalke needed to find a replacement for swiss-army knife TE Delanie Walker. He placed his trust in McDonald. The move backfired despite Baalke giving McDonald a five-year contract extension last December.

“We believe he has only scratched the surface of what he will be able to accomplish in his career,” Baalke said. However, 49ers GM John Lynch apparently feels otherwise. 

McDonald Stats: 

In 48 regular season games, McDonald recorded 64 catches for 866 yards and 7 touchdowns. 

49ers-Steelers Trade:

Lynch cleaning house Brick-By-Brick

The outcome.

The Niners received the Steelers 2018 fourth-round pick in exchange for McDonald and their 2018 fifth-round pick. San Francisco did not have a fourth-round pick in this upcoming draft. They have now yielded one via this transaction. 

In addition, the move puts other Baalke holdovers on notice. No one is safe. Everyone is expendable. Simply put, time to clean house brick-by-brick!   

Related McDonald articles:

WATCH: 49ers’ TE Vance McDonald Destroys Cardinals Rashad Johnson


VIDEO: 49ers’ TE Vance McDonald scores first touchdown at Levi’s Stadium

49ers’ Vance McDonald blows up Seahawks CB Richard Sherman


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Ryan is the Founder/CEO of, 49ers Beat Writer, Live Game Day Correspondent for Bleacher Report and member of Pro Football Writers of America. Born and raised in San Jose, he also graduated from San Diego State University. His work has been featured on NFL Network, 95.7 The Game, National Football Post, Sports Illustrated, FanSided Network, ESPN Radio, CBS Sports 810, and NBC Bay Area News. For more information, please contact him via email at or call him at (408) 622-0996.