SEATTLE – The Seahawks have traded tight end Nick Vannett to Pittsburgh for a fifth-round pick, according to multiple reports Tuesday night, including ESPN and the NFL Network.
The deal means the Seahawks get what could be a relatively high fifth-round pick (the Steelers are already 0-3) for a player who might not have been in Seattle’s plans beyond this season.
Vannett, a third-round pick out of Ohio State, is in his fourth season with the Seahawks and would be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the year.
He has been the team’s backup tight end behind second-year player Will Dissly, a Washington alum who is off to a hot start to the 2019 season with 12 catches for 124 yards.
Vannett played 26 snaps in Sunday’s 33-27 loss to the Saints and has four receptions for 38 yards this season.
The Seahawks will probably replace Vannett on the 53-man roster with Jacob Hollister, who was a standout in the preseason with four catches for 28 yards and a touchdown, and has been on the practice squad since the start of the regular season. Hollister was acquired in April from the Patriots for a seventh-round pick.
The trade also eases what figured to be something of a logjam at the tight-end position in a few weeks when veteran Ed Dickson will be eligible to come off the Injured Reserve list after the eighth week of the season. Dickson had knee surgery in the preseason and is expected to be ready to come off IR as soon as he is eligible, which will be after a game on Oct. 27 at Atlanta.
Vannett was taken with the 94th overall pick out of Ohio State in 2016. He has 15 career starts in 42 career games.
He started nine games last season, primarily when Dickson and Dissly were injured, with a career-high 29 receptions for 269 yards and three touchdowns. For his career he has 48 receptions for 463 yards and four touchdowns.
Seattle has been carrying only two listed tight ends on its roster due in part to the fact that tackle George Fant often plays a tight-end role.
That Dickson was coming back, Hollister is available and that Vannett would be a free agent at the end of the season all likely made the Seahawks feel they could deal Vannett to the Steelers, who need a tight end to help replace Vance McDonald, who is dealing with a shoulder injury.
Seattle already appeared to have nine picks in the 2020 draft, including its first, two seconds and a third.
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