5 Steelers that should not return in black and gold for 2021

Pittsburgh Steelers running back James Conner Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports
Pittsburgh Steelers running back James Conner Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports /
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Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Vance McDonald (89) Mandatory Credit: Steve Roberts-USA TODAY Sports /

Second player that should not return

He will be a large-cap casualty in 2021. Vance McDonald has done very little for the Steelers in his time spent here. If Ebron was being viewed as a disappointment halfway through 2020 for no more than 1 or 2 highlight plays then the McDonald experiment has been a mistake. He has not been a consistent presence on possession downs, nor has he ever been a presence in the RedZone for the Steelers. He was kept and Jesse James was passed on, and with what Jesse James was able to give us in terms of blocking that seemed to have been an error.

McDonald has been incredibly expensive with the 3rd highest cap hit for 2020 out of all of the Steelers’ pending free agents. It should be 1st, as the franchise tag gave Dupree the immediate highest at 15 million and Avery Williamson joined the Steelers at the trade deadline bringing the 2nd highest cap hit of their pending free agents. The Steelers are set to swallow just under 7 million for their second-string tight end in 2021. One that doesn’t see the field very often, and is barely the best blocker out of a group that includes Eric Ebron and Zach Gentry.

Ebron will be the de-facto tight end for the rest of his contract for Pittsburgh. With McDonald leaving the Steelers could spend far less on a blocking tight end in free agency. McDonald would be able to get a fresh start in an offense that fits his skill set better, while the Steelers can save a lot of money. It just makes too much sense for both parties to part ways after 2020.