Remember that big in-season trade the Pittsburgh Steelers pulled out of their hat last year? No, no, no, I’m not talking about Minkah Fitzpatrick. I’m obviously referring to Nick Vannett, the four-year veteran tight end whom the team acquired from the Seattle Seahawks in exchange for a fifth-round pick.
That is, frankly, a much bigger price than what they paid for Vance McDonald. They sent a late fourth-round pick to the San Francisco 49ers and got back an early fifth-round pick and the player. But they also got McDonald’s contract.
On the other hand, they were only getting Vannett for 13 games, as he is now heading into unrestricted free agency. But from the sounds of it, he is hoping that he doesn’t have to pack up his things again the way he did toward the end of September.
“It’s incredible here”, the told Teresa Varley for the team’s website. ” When I came here from Day 1, I felt the love, I felt very welcomed”. He added that he “felt very comfortable with everybody, even the team’s media people. “Everybody is so down to earth. It is a true family atmosphere here. I think that made it easier for me to make that transition to come here and just play football”.
Vannett didn’t exactly set the world on fire once he arrived, though it’s worth keeping in mind that he was playing with Mason Rudolph and Devlin Hodges, rather than Ben Roethlisberger. In his 13 games here, he caught 13 passes for 128 yards with no scores.
While he was a player that the Steelers had been keeping tabs on since he came out and was taken by the Seahawks in the third round in 2016, they didn’t make the move to get him until after Xavier Grimble was injured, and McDonald as well. Grimble ended up on injured reserve, and they still had to make heavy use of the tackle-eligible.
Given that he had to adjust on the fly, however, it’s reasonable to believe that he can contribute more and be more successful and consistent during a second season in Pittsburgh. If the team does decide to re-sign him, it won’t be for a ton of money, and he will obviously play in a number two role.
“I have a lot of respect for this organization”, he told Varley, reflecting upon the few months he has been in Pittsburgh and with the Steelers as time has gone by. “I sure hope I am here for years to come”.