Pittsburgh is tight against the cap, so McDonald had been speculated as a potential cap casualty. He is set to count more than $7 million against the cap in 2020.
However, the Steelers are also thin at tight end and releasing McDonald would have created a major need at the position. Lolley says releasing McDonald is way down Pittsburgh’s list of options to create salary.
McDonald, 29, is a former second-round pick of the 49ers back in 2013. He was in the final year of his rookie contract when the 49ers signed him to a new five-year, $35 million extension, but he was later traded to the Steelers in exchange for a 2018 fifth-round pick.
In 2019, McDonald appeared in 14 games and caught 38 passes for 273 yards receiving and three touchdowns. Pro Football Focus has him rated as the No.66 tight end out of 67 qualifying players.