Tight end Vance McDonald, who had the best season of his career in 2016 and whom the 49ers signed to a lucrative contract extension in December, is available in a trade.
Michael Lombardi, a former NFL executive, wrote on Twitter that McDonald, 26, was available in a trade, despite a new five-year deal that McDonald signed in December that is worth as much as $35 million.
The deal was made when Trent Baalke, who drafted McDonald in the second round in 2013, still was the 49ers general manager. Baalke was fired less than a month later, and the team replaced him with John Lynch.
McDonald averaged more than 16 yards a reception last year and caught four touchdowns, one of them for 75 yards. But he may not match the tough-guy persona the 49ers are trying to instill this year. McDonald frequently has come out of games following big hits and has yet to play a full 16-game season.
McDonald and Logan Paulsen, a free-agent acquisition, lined up with the first-team offense during the team’s minicamp. The 49ers also have Garrett Celek, Je’Ron Hamm and Blake Bell at the position but also could draft a tight end. Iowa’s George Kittle visited the team this month and they worked out Clemson’s Jordan Leggett.