Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Nick Vannett is one of the team’s several scheduled soon-to-be unrestricted free agents this offseason even though he was acquired via a trade in the middle of September. Before Vannett got his offseason underway, the Ohio State product made it clear that he’s enjoyed his brief time with the Steelers to date and hopes he’s back for the 2020 season.
“I love being a part of it, and I hope I can continue to be part of this,” Vannett said after the 2019 season ended, according to Chris Adamski of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “But at the end of the day it’s out of my hands and it’ s a numbers game and it’s a business, so you have to go with what is the best business decision.”
For Vannett to avoid hitting unrestricted free agency in March he would need to be re-signed ahead of time. With his perceived market value expected to be low, it might not take much for the Steelers to get him re-signed. That said, it might be in Vannett’s best interest to take the Steelers best offer and shop it around once the start of new league year rolls around.
Vannett, who started the 2019 season as a member of the Seattle Seahawks, was acquired by the Steelers in Week 4 via a trade. in the 13 games that Vannett played in with the Steelers since arriving the trade he caught just 13 passes for 128 yards on 17 total targets. While Vannett did also log roughly 100 special teams snaps during the regular season, those included being on the field goal/extra point and kickoff return units.
While the Steelers offense severely under-performed in 2019 and especially the team’s tight ends, Vannett headed off into the offseason feeling good about what he accomplished during the season.
“I think despite the stats that all of us had – myself included – despite we ended up this season, I saw it as a great year for me,” Vannett reportedly said. “I definitely learned a lot about myself. Being able to make the switch [in teams] three weeks into the season isn’t easy for anyone. I traveled across the country about as far away as you could go, moved myself to Pittsburgh and had to focus on football and not really missing a beat.
“Getting right into it and just chipping away, I think it showed me how much of a professional I am. I learned a lot about myself, and I was happy about how I handled it.”
The Steelers traded for Vannett because he’s a player they liked prior to the 2016 NFL Draft. In reality, however, the Steelers traded a fifth-round selection in the 2020 NFL Draft to rent Vannett for 13 games. Was it worth it? On the surface, no, in my honest opinion.
We’ll see just how much the Steelers like Vannett in the coming weeks. If the team re-signs him, that deal figures to be a multi-year one that would also include some guaranteed money. If he doesn’t get re-signed by the start of the new league year in March, Vannett might find himself on another team in 2020. Who knows, maybe he lands back with the Seahawks if allowed to test free agency.