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Report: Steelers, TE Vance McDonald Restructure Contract

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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.

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Steelers QB Josh Dobbs Working with NASA for 2nd Straight Year

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Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Josh Dobbs is joining the NASA Kennedy Space Flight Center for the second straight offseason.

The collaboration is a part of the NFLPA’s virtual Externship program, which provides players with professional development experiences to prepare them for their careers after football.

Dobbs is part of an exclusive group of just 52 players participating in the program. His placement with NASA will last through the end of March.

“We believe that this year’s virtual Externship experience will provide our player members with a unique opportunity to broaden their knowledge, skillset and network in new, innovative ways that will serve them well during life after football,” NFLPA Player Manager Connor Ford said.

Dobbs’ mental acumen is well-documented, as the quarterback left the University of Tennessee with a degree in aerospace engineering in 2017.

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Steelers RB Trey Edmunds Shares Love of Reading with Local Students

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Pittsburgh Steelers running back Trey Edmunds has been a lifelong lover of reading, a passion he shared with local students on Tuesday’s celebration of Read Across America Day.

Edmunds joined students at Pittsburgh Faison for a virtual assembly and read New York Times best seller, What Do You Do With An Idea? by Kobi Yamada.

“I am blessed and humbled to be amongst you guys today and to represent another part of the community and be able to read to you,” Edmunds told Steelers.com. “I am so happy to be here today. What I do want to say is I was in some of the same positions as you guys. I grew up listening to people come back and read to me. Some of those same people I have been in contact with many years later. Some of those same things they have read to me, I have had the privilege of reading to some of the people I mentor, some of the young people in my life, whether it’s cousins, nephews. I am extremely happy today.”

Edmunds also surprised the student with a copy of his own book My Brother’s Keeper – What This Means to Me…, written alongside with his brothers Terrell and Tremaine. Terrell is a safety for Pittsburgh, while Tremaine is a standout linebacker for the Buffalo Bills.

Edmunds’ love of reading came from his mother Felicia, who as an educator, always championed the important of the skill.

“My mother is an elementary school teacher, so she had me doing all of that stuff when I was in high school, college, as a matter of fact I have to go to her school to read for the month of March,” he told Steelers.com. “It keeps me on my toes, attentive. I am a big reader myself, so when I get the opportunity to read to kids, I like that type of interaction.”

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Should Steelers Sign Zach Banner to be Starter in 2021?

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Zach Banner has become a prominent member of the Steelers, but that’s not because he’s had success on the field over the past year. Banner’s success has come off the field by connecting with fans on social media and doing his part to help those in need than he has on a football field. But by no means is that Banner’s fault.

He suffered a season ending torn ACL in Week 1 of the 2020 season. This injury was especially devastating for the USC product because it occurred on the heels of Banner winning the starting right tackle position following a tough training camp battle with Chukwuma Okorafor.

Due to Banner’s injury, it was Okorafor who ended up starting 16 games, including the postseason. While Banner kept in good spirits and became his team’s loudest cheerleader on Twitter during games, it was clear he wanted to be on the field and contributing.

Earning a starting spot as a member of the Steelers offensive line was a major career achievement for Banner, but it was one he didn’t get to enjoy. With Banner expected to be ready for a return next season, should the Steelers sign the 27-year-old with the anticipation that he could be a key piece to bolster the offensive line that was missing during the 2020 season?

Do you believe in Zach Banner? Comment below with why or why not.

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