The Steelers have restructured the option on the contract of tight end Vance McDonald, according to a report by Adam Caplan of Sirius XM NFL Radio.
McDonald had a two-year, $11.9 million option, with $5.5 million in salary in each season and $900,000 in workout and roster bonuses this season.
Instead, according to Caplan, McDonald will convert $5.5 million of his salary into a signing bonus. It’s not clear exactly how much of that bonus will be deferred and thus removed from the Steelers’ 2020 salary cap.
McDonald, 29, has been the Steelers’ primary starter at tight end over the last two seasons since coming over in a trade from the San Francisco 49ers in 2017.
He’s started 14 games in each of the last two seasons and has 102 catches for 1071 yards and eight touchdowns in his three seasons in Pittsburgh.
After a 50-catch, 610-yard season in 2018, McDonald saw his production decrease in 2019 thanks to an early season injury and the loss of starting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, which depressed the receiving stats of all Steelers pass-catchers in 2019. McDonald finished his third year in Pittsburgh with 38 catches on 55 targets for 273 yards and three scores.
With backup Nick Vannett set to become an unrestricted free agent on Wednesday, McDonald’s outstanding contract option represented one of the Steelers’ biggest offseason question marks going heading into the new league.
As more details become available about the specifics of McDonald’s new contract and the salary cap implications of it, this story will be updated.