The acquisition of former 49er Vance McDonald -- whom HC Mike Tomlin calls an "NFL-caliber tight end" -- puts the team's current tight ends on notice, though that doesn't mean they can't all coexist.
"We're not going to anoint him in any way," Tomlin said of McDonald. "We're going to put him in uniform like the rest of them and continue to allow them to sort themselves out. It's reasonable to expect the guys that are here to respond positively in the right way to his presence and elevate their play."
McDonald will be jumping into a nuanced offensive system cold. Being ready for Week 1 beyond a few packages is a big ask. James and Grimble can still serve an important role in the passing game, particularly in the red zone. It's clear McDonald can fight for a starting job once up to speed. With seven touchdown catches in the past two years, Ben Roethlisberger will likely utilize him in this area. Tomlin said he liked McDonald as a prospect out of Rice in 2013.