Dallas Cowboys: 5 Early 2020 free agent targets at tight end

CARSON, CALIFORNIA - DECEMBER 15: Hunter Henry #86 of the Los Angeles Chargers catches a pass while defended by free safety Harrison Smith #22 of the Minnesota Vikings in the third quarter at Dignity Health Sports Park on December 15, 2019 in Carson, California. The Vikings defeated the Chargers 39-10. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
CARSON, CALIFORNIA - DECEMBER 15: Hunter Henry #86 of the Los Angeles Chargers catches a pass while defended by free safety Harrison Smith #22 of the Minnesota Vikings in the third quarter at Dignity Health Sports Park on December 15, 2019 in Carson, California. The Vikings defeated the Chargers 39-10. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images) /
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PITTSBURGH, PA – NOVEMBER 03: Vance McDonald #89 of the Pittsburgh Steelers celebrates his touchdown during the third quarter against the Indianapolis Colts at Heinz Field on November 3, 2019 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA – NOVEMBER 03: Vance McDonald #89 of the Pittsburgh Steelers celebrates his touchdown during the third quarter against the Indianapolis Colts at Heinz Field on November 3, 2019 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images) /

Pittsburgh Steelers. 4. 55. Scouting Report. TE. Vance McDonald. player. Pick Analysis

One thing that director of player personnel Stephen Jones has been doing for Dallas in recent years is finding a way to get veteran players to come in on affordable contracts. This season, he did that wide receiver Randall Cobb, who was replacing Cole Beasley.

Knowing they needed cap space to sign Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott, Jaylon Smith and Amari Cooper, they let Beasley walk. He ended up signing a four-year deal with the Buffalo Bills. As for Cobb, he took a one-year contract worth $5 million.

Jones could look to do something similar at tight end this offseason. Should they decide they want to land a veteran who can help for a short time as they use their draft assets elsewhere, they could call Vance McDonald.

A former second-round pick of the San Francisco 49ers, McDonald was traded to the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2017. He broke out in 2018 with 610 yards on 50 receptions with four touchdowns.

He hasn’t been utilized as much this season, gaining only 245 yards on 33 receptions with three touchdowns. He’s had his lowest graded season ever according to Pro Football Focus (subscription required) but has continued to show he can block — at least in the passing game.

McDonald will be 30 years old so it’s not as if he will be getting a long-term deal but he could be a solid one-year option. And if he plays well, they could look to extend that to another year. If not, they can move on — which is why those deals are smart.